JOHN 6. 37, 38.
THere are two Persons whom Faith hath to deal withall in seeking of For∣givenesse, and laying hold of Salvati∣on, God the Father, and God the Son; the holy Ghost being that Person that sets the heart a work to seek out for sal∣vation, and reveales the love of them both. And therefore it is, that Grace and Peace (which are the object of Faiths inquest) are still wisht from God the Father, and God the Son; so generally in all Epistles, excepting that of the Revelation, given immediately by word of mouth from Christ himselfe.
And accordingly when Faith comes to treat with Page 2 these two about the great businesse of Salvation, the first and maine thing that it is inquisitive after, is, What their heart and mind is, and how they stand enclined towards the receiving and pardoning of sinners: it listens most to heare something of that: and when a mans heart, through faith is fully & throughly perswaded of it, then he is fully won.
Hence, because the Scriptures were written for our comfort, and so, fitted to, and for the workings of faith; therefore they were so written, as especially to bring down and lay before us the Heart of God and of Christ: and so the maine thing they hold forth, is, the full intent and purpose both of God and of Christ to pardon and receive sinners: This is a faithfull saying, (sayes Paul with open mouth) that Christ came into the world to save sinners; and this Christ himself every where indigitates; and to hold forth this, is the scope of these words uttered by Christ himself. And such speeches do containe the very heart, marrow, and pith of the Gospel.
And though the heart of a sinner will never be ful∣ly satisfied, till a perswasion be wrought, that God and Christ are purposed and willing to save a mans own self in particular, (which perswasion is that which we call Assurance) yet when once there is a through perswasion setled upon the heart, but of so much indefinitely and in generall; that God and Christ are willing and fully resolved to save some sin∣ners (so that the heart does truly beleeve that God is in earnest) this draws on the heart to come to Christ, and is enough to work faith of adherence, such, as up∣on which Christ will never cast us out (as the Text hath it.)Page 3
The great businesse then for the working faith in men, is to perswade them of Gods good will and gracious inclination unto sinners, to beget in them good opinions of God and Christ this way; Men naturally having hard and suspitious thoughts of both, as that speech of Christ Iohn 3. 17. implies, [God sent not His Son into the world to condemne the world, but that the world through him might be saved.] Christ would never have hinted such a jealousie, nor sugge∣sted such thoughts to mens minds, had they not been in them before, and this, to prevent and take off such jealousies. Men are apt to think, that God had a designe upon them as upon enemies, and laid but an Ambushment for their further condemnation, in his treaty of peace tendred to them by his Son. An ex∣ample of which we have in Luther, who fell into such suspitions as these, for he misunderstanding some words he met with in the Epistle to the Romans, as they were rendred by the vulgar translation then in use, namely, these, that God sent his Son to declare his righteousnesse (as they are by us translated) he thought the meaning of them to have been this, to declare and set forth his judgement on the world, (so he interpre∣ted [adjustitiam suam. &c.]) The truth is, the jea∣lousies of mens thoughts herein were those that have put God to his Oath, [As I live, I will not the death of a sinner, &c.] so also Heb. 6. 17. Men do not so usually question the power of God, he is able enough to save them they think; he is able to engraft them in (as the Apostle speakes to the Jewes, Rom. 11. 23.) but all their doubts are about his Will. Gods will was the Fountaine and spring of our salvation, in the contri∣ving Page 4 of which he wrought all things according to the counsel of his own will, (as the Apostle to the Ephesians speaketh) and in another place it is said, He will have mercy on whom he will, &c. and therefore the great queries in our hearts are concerning the will of God towards us.
The words of the Text opened.
NOw these words of my Text do hold forth the full willingnesse of both these two persons, both of God and of Christ:
1. Of Christ, he here professeth himself willing to entertain all that will come to him, [He that will come to me, I will in no wise cast out.] Which words are not to be understood, as if spoken only of casting out them that are already come unto him, as if they were only a promise against being cast off after being received; and so intended against feares of falling away: but they are chiefly intended as an invitement to all that are not yet come, that they would come to him, and so, to expresse how ready and willing he is to enter∣tain all commers, as one who sets his doores open, keeps open house, and beats back none that would come in, [Him that commeth to me, I will in no wise cast out.] And though it may seem to be but a slender and sparing expression of his readines to entertain such, to say only [I will not cast them out,] yet though he speaks with the least, yet he will do with the most, he being abundant in goodnesse and truth, and one that is better then his word in the performance. As when he sayes, he will not despise a broken heart, is that all the Page 5 esteem he will manifest to such a heart? Oh no, it is the most welcome thing, and endeared frame of spi∣rit that can be in any creature. His meaning is to shew what he elsewhere sayes of a meek spirit (which is all one with a broken heart) that, with God it is of great price, for so in Isaiah he expresseth himself, I that inha∣bit eternity, with whom will I dwell? with a spirit that is broken and contrite. He useth also this expression of not casting them out, in relation, and for a more di∣rect answer unto the feare which he knew usually possesseth the hearts of poor sinners when they are a∣bout to come to him; they fear he may reject them, they know not their entertainment, their welcome. To meet with this Scruple, he sayes, [I will not cast such out] choosing rather thus to remove the doubt that is in their hearts, then to expresse the fulnesse of his own: the Scriptures speaking potius ad cor nostrum quam cor suum, rather unto our hearts, then fully what is in his own, (which can never be done.)
And yet even in this diminutive expression, there is that inserted, which argues not only a willingnesse and readinesse, but a resolvednesse joyned with the greatest care and faithfulnesse that can be, [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] I will [in no wise] cast out. We may see his heart through this little crevis: he doth herein as a faithfull man, who to give the more full assurance puts in some binding word into his promise, as [I will at no hand, or in no wise faile you.] Thus does God also in that known Promise, Heb. 12. 5. (to the hornes of which sanctuary many a soule hath fled for refuge) I will ne∣ver leave thee, nor forsake thee, where there are no lesse then five negatives to bind and assure it, I will not, in no wise, (&c.) leave thee.Page 6
Now this willingnesse of his, on his part, Christ shewes by two things:
First, by that great journey he took, from heaven to earth, and that to no other purpose but to save sin∣ners. For this (sayes he) did I come down from heaven. Great actions of one who is wise, must answerably have great ends; now this was the greatest thing that ever was done, that the Son of God should come from Heaven. And when there can be but one end of an action so great; that end must needs be accom∣plished, or else the action is wholly in vain. Now in comming down from heaven, he could have no other end but the saving of sinners, he could have no other businesse to do, that he did here; therefore the Scrip∣tures put his comming into the world wholly upon this, to seek and to save that which was lost, and do attribute his taking upon him the likenesse of sinfull flesh to have been [for sin] so Rom. 8. though other ends might be supposed, and were accomplisht by the assuming mans nature, yet he had no other end of taking fraile flesh, especially there could be no other end of his dying, but meerely and only for sin: Iohn 12. 24. he sayes, If he had not fallen to the ground and dyed, he had then remained in Heaven alone, and no sinners had come thither: that therefore they might ascend to heaven, he descends from heaven, I came down from heaven, &c.
Secondly, He demonstrates his willingnesse by this, that his Father had sent him on purpose to receive and to save sinners: I come (sayes he) to do the will of him who sent mee: and Iohn 8. he sayes [I came not of my self, but (my Father) he sent me] And if he were Page 7 sent by his Father to this end (as he affirmes he was, and as by the coherence appeares, for he makes it the reason why he will cast none out) then certainly he will faithfully do the work he was sent for: In Heb. 3. 1. he is called the Apostle of our profession [Apostle] that is, one sent, so the word signifies; and what fol∣lowes? who was [faithfull to him that appointed him. Now upon these considerations, Christ tells you that you may build upon him, that you shall certainly find him willing.
2. For his Fathers willingnesse, he tels us we may be much more confident of it: for he puts his own willingnesse and all upon that: Him (sayes he) that the Father gives me, shall come to me; and him that com∣meth to me, I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me: and this is the Fathers will that hath sent me, &c. In which words you may observe both wherein he declares his Father to be engaged, and how much.
First, Wherein: and that by two things:
1. That he sent him to that end, and so, it is his Fathers businesse more then his own. So also Luke 2. 49. he expresseth himself: [Shall I not do my Fathers businesse?] as elsewhere in Isaiah he is called his Fa∣thers Servant in it, and Iohn 5. 36. he makes it his Fa∣thers work.
Secondly, that he in a solemne manner gave unto him them whom he would have to be saved, with charge to lose none [All that the Father hath given me shall come unto me:] and this is his will, that I should lose none, but give him an account of every soul of Page 8 them at the last day. They are given him as jewels, and as his Beniamins, to look to, and see to bring back and keep from destruction. Now whom he so so∣lemnly gave to Christ to save, he will never cast a∣way, when they shall come unto Christ.
Then 2. he shewes how much, and how deeply, his Father is engaged, and makes it his Fathers will ra∣ther then his own: [I come not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me:] The meaning whereof is, not to shew that he came unwillingly, or receives sinners unwillingly, but that his Fathers will was first in it (as I shall shew anon,) and so much in it, that (if you will resolve it into its first principles Christs comming was principally to please his Father. It is such a speech, as that in Iohn 5. 22. [The Father judg∣eth no man: but hath committed all judgement to the Son, &c.] Not that God is not a Iudge as well as Christ, (for Heb. 12. 23. he is termed the Iudge of all men) but because all judgement is visibly committed unto Christ, therefore the Father is said to judge no man. So here, because the Fathers will is chiefe, and first in it, Christ therefore sayes, he came not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him.
And so you have the meaning of the words.
The maine Observation out of the words: Demonstrati∣ons of Gods heart herein, from his engagements from everlasting: How his heart stood to sinners afore the world was.
THE Observation, which I single out of these words to insist upon, is this, That
Both God the Father, and Iesus Christ the Son are fully willing, and resolved to save sinners.
1. For God the Father, There are many Demonstra∣tions of his will herein, that may be taken ab extra from his Oath, Word, Promise, &c. which I shall handle in another method: but those which I shall first hold forth, are more intimate and Intrinsecall, and homogeneall to the argument which Christ useth here in the Text, which we have seen) to be these, that it was Gods will first, and Christs, but because it was his, (I come not to do mine own will,) and that it was he that dealt with Christ about it, and wrought him off to it, and made it his businesse; (but the will of him that sent me.) So that the Demonstrations which I shall pitch upon, shall be drawn from Gods engage∣ments, both from his transactions with Christ from everlasting, before he came into the world, and those that now lie upon him from Christs having fully per∣formed what he sent him into the world for. And from either may be fetcht strong consolations, and confirmations to our faith, that Gods will must needs continue most serious and hearty to save sinners.
Many other sorts of Demonstrations of this point Page 10 might be fetcht and drawn from the riches of his mercy, lying by him to bestow on some great pur∣chase: & on what greater purchase could they be be∣stowed, to shew forth the glory thereof, then upon the salvation & pardon of sinners? But these also I shal at the present let lie by untold, having elsewere counted them up, and set them forth, such demonstrations be∣ing only proper to this Text, as argue an engagement of his will; whereas all those riches of mercie that are in him (although the moving cause of all) might have for ever remained in him as his nature, without any determination of his will to save any man. When therefore a poor sinner shall heare (besides the merci∣full disposition of Gods nature) that acts and resolu∣tions of his will have past from him, about the par∣doning of sinners, so as his will hath engaged all the mercies of his nature to effect it, this brings in strong consolation.
Now the deepnesse of these engagements of his wil to pardon sinners, may be demonstrated,
1. From such transactions of his, as were held by him with Christ from everlasting; which hath both put strong obligations upon him, and also argue him fully and firmly resolved to save sinners. Now all the particular passages of those treaties of his with Christ, about the reconciliation of sinners from ever∣lasting, I have elsewhere also at large handled; and therefore it is not my scope now to enumerate them. I shall now onely draw Demonstrations from some few of them, by way of Corollary, to help our faith in this point in hand, namely, Gods resolvednesse to pardon sinners.
Page 11 The first is drawn from this, That God the Father had the first and chiefe hand in this matter of saving sinners (as I then shewed) the project was his, and the first motion his.
1. The Project, he laid the plot of it, and contrived all about it, for the effecting of it. Therefore John 5. 19. Christ sayes the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do.
2. The first Motion was his, I came not to do my own will, (sayes Christ) but the will of him that sent him. Both which (Project and first motion) are shut up in that one sentence, Ephes. 1. He worketh all things by the [counsaile] of his own [will.] Now, for God thus to have the first hand in it, did put a great and deep en∣gagement upon his Will in it. We see among men, the Projector and first motioner of a businesse is al∣wayes most forward in it; because then it is most pe∣culiarly his own; and the greater will be his honour in the compassing of it. How many great affaires have been spoiled, because some men have not been the chiefe and first in them that affect the preheminence? Now this honour God the Father may challenge, that he was the first in reconciling and saving sinners: It is therefore called Gods wisdome, Eph. 3. 10. and his purpose, Ephes. 1. 9. Gods righteousnesse, Rom. 1. 17. and the pleasure of the Lord, Isa. 53.
Secondly, this Project and Motion did rise up in him unto a strong resolution and purpose, and to an unalterable decree to save sinners by Christ: so Eph. 1. 9.
And 1. For his purposes, they are immutable. Would not Paul lightly alter purposes taken up by Page 12 him, When I therefore was thus tamed (sayes he, 2 Cor. 1, 17.) did I use lightnesse? or the things that I purpose do I purpose according to the Flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? Would not Paul (I say) alter his purpose because he preached the Gospel, and will God (think you) alter them who gave the Gos∣pel? no, it is the ete nall Gospel, Revel 14. 6. and God is of the same minde still, so it follows in that place to the Corinths, But as God is true (or varies not) so was our word to you, which yet is his more then Pauls, &c.
2. For Gods Decrees, (whereof this was one, they are also immutable. The great Monarchs of the earth, the Persians, took to themselves the infallibility, that they would not alter the Decrees which they made: (therefore when a thing was unalterable, it was said to be as the Lawes of the Medes and Persians) which was to shew their greatnesse, and their wisdome, that they could so resolve, as no person or power whatsoever should be strong enough to cause them to change their resolutions: and yet, they were forced, though not to alter a former Decree, yet to give counter∣mands unto it, (as Ahasuerus did, and men do alter, because they cannot foresee all events, and so cannot make unalterable Decrees without prejudice. There∣fore the Pope, who takes on him the style of Infallible, and so assumes to himself the highest prerogative that ever man did, yet of him it is said, Papa nunquam l•gat sibi manus, that he never binds his own hands by any Decree he makes, because he cannot fore see all in∣conveniences, notwithstanding what ever he assumes: But with God it is not thus, He is not a man that he should have cause to repent, for he knows and fore∣sees all that can or will follow.
Page 13 Now 1. this immutability of his counsaile he shews by two oaths; the first made to Christ, the second to us.
1. To Christ, Heb. 7. 21. This Priest (Christ) was made with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever, &c. And this was from everlasting; for then it was that Christ was first made Priest: Now then God foresaw that he could never have a relenting thought at the par∣doning of sinners through him, this his Son would so satisfie and please him: and thereupon he sware.
2. To us, Heb. 6. 17, 18. God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heires of promise the immutability of his counsaile, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things (in which it was impossible for God to lie) we might have a strong consolation, &c. The thing I alledge this place for, and which I would have observed, is, that this oath is not mentioned as that now which makes God so immutable, (though that be a truth) But Gods oath is here made that whereby God did declare un∣to us the immutability of his purpose formerly and from everlasting taken up, and so that immutability of his counsaile was the cause of his oath, and that was to pardon sinners: for it is the Promise made to Abraham and his seed, that is there specified.
Yea 3. God set his seale unto all, further to confirm it. He both sealed Christ to the work, Joh. 6. 27. and likewise sealed up in his Decrees the persons of those sinners that shall be saved. 2 Tim. 2. 19. The foundati∣on of the Lord remains sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth who are his. And if it were but a Kings seal, it could not be reversed, but this is Gods. Yea, he Page 14 hath sealed up their sins also by and through Christ, Dan. 9. 24. never to be remembred or lookt upon more.
Thirdly, God rested not in a Decree only, but entred into Covenant with Christ to save sinners by him, if he would die. This Covenant you have Dialogue-wise set out, Esay 49. Frist, Christ begins at the first and second verses, and shewes his Commission, telling God how he had cal∣led him, and fitted him for the work of Redemption, and he would know what reward he should receive of him for so great an undertaking: God answers him, ver. 3. and at first offers low, only the Elect of Israel. Christ who stood now a making his bargain with him, thought these too few, and not worth so great a labour and work, because few of the Jewes would come in, but would refuse him, therefore ver. 4. he sayes, he should labour in vain, if this were all his re∣compence: and yet withall he tels God, that seeing his heart was so much in saving sinners to satisfie him, he would do it however for those few, comforting himselfe with this, that his work was with the Lord. Upon this God comes off more freely, and openeth his heart more largely to him, as meaning more amply to content him for his paines in dying: It is a light thing (sayes God to him) that thou shouldest be my ser∣vant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, that is not worth the dying for, I value thy sufferings more then so, I will give thee for a salvation unto the ends of the earth. Upon this he made a promise to Christ, 1 Tit. 2. and a pro∣mise is more then a purpose. A purpose may be in ones selfe, as Ephes. 1. 9. but a promise is made to an∣other. Page 15 Now God cannot lie in himselfe, but most of all, not to his Son.
A second sort of Demonstrations. The engagements of Gods heart to sinners, from, and upon Christs having dyed at his request.
A Second sort of Demonstrations are drawn from Christs having already come and performed all this: for
1. Christ is now to be satisfied for that his dying, as well as he by his death had satisfied God: he is now to have his reward. God never set any on work, but he gave them wages. Thus unto Nebuchadnezzar he gave Egypt as his hire for his service at Tyre, and to Cyrus he gave hidden treasure. Now it is not Christs own glory that will satisfie him, for that he could have had, and never have dyed: there remains therefore nothing that can or will satisfie him, but to have the end of his death, To see his seed and be satis∣fied, and to see of the travaile of his soule: and to justifie many, as it is Isa. 53. He dyed (as himselfe speaks, Iohn 12. 24.) that he might not be alone in heaven: his desire is, that those whom he dyed for might see his glory.
2. If we consider the act it self, of delivering Christ unto death, there was not, nor could there ever be any thing more abhorrent unto God; no act ever went so much against his heart: for if he be afflicted in all our afflictions, and doth not willingly punish the sonnes of men, neither wils the death of a sinner that de∣serves Page 16 it, much lesse would he will the death of his own Son. Now what was there to sweeten the death and sufferings of his Son unto him, except his end in it? (for it is the end that sweetens and facilitates the meanes tending unto it) Now the end of Christs death could be no other but to take sinnes away, and to procure the pardon of sinners, and so it must needs be infinitely delightfull unto him, and his heart strongly set upon it, seeing it did sweeten unto him an act otherwise so abhorrent, and of this end therefore it is impossible he should ever repent. Now Ephes. 5. 2. the very offering of Christ is called a Sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour: and what was it that made it so, but even the end for which it was done, (and which is there put upon it) that it was out of love unto us, and out of a mind to have sinners pardoned; for else in it selfe it must needs have been abominable unto him.
Agai 3. if at any time he would have repented him of his purpose, it would have been at the time of Christs being crucified, when he came to bruise him: then his heart would have recoyled, and especially when Christ poured out his soule with such strong cries and teares as he did. At other times in punishing but his children, we find, that when he comes to do it, his heart as it were fails him, as Hos. 11. 8. [How shall I give thee up?] the rod falls out of his hand, and his bowels yearn within him; yet he relented not when he saw the soule of his Ioseph in bitternesse, but still made an impossibility of it for him to avoid suffering, because his purpose was thereby to take sinnes away. Therefore Christs request was, Father, if it be possible, let this cup passe: The necessity lay only in Gods will Page 17 in reference to his end, to forgive sinnes. If God would ever have relented or repented him of this purpose, it would have been then: we read of his re∣penting him of other of his works, but his mind is so fully carried to take away sins, that he did not then, or can ever repent of putting his own Son to death, for the effecting of it: To pardon sinners is more naturall to him, then to kill his Son was unnaturall. Now his end and purpose being thus fully set to pardon and save sinners, if he should be frustrated of this his end, he would then indeed repent him of using his Son as he had done. Nay, it is not only said, that he repented not, but that it pleased him to bruise Christ, in respect to that his end, which was so pleasant to him: So you have it Isa. 53. 10. And therefore surely it pleaseth him much more, to pardon sinners, now he hath thus bruised him: and so indeed it followes there, The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand, It is spoken of his saving and justifying of sinners. It troubled God to heare a soul bemoan it self for its sin, Ier. 31. 20. but we read not that it did so, when Christ bemoaned himself in his sufferings; and the reason was, because the work that Christ was about to do, was a sweet Sacrifice to him; and it would trouble God more to condemn a sinner that Christ dyed for, then it did to sacrifice Christ for him.
4. Upon that ancient agreement between God and Christ: God pardoned millions of men under the Old Testament upon the bare word of Christ, before he came into the world, or had paid one peny of the debt he must needs therfore be supposed to be much more willing now to do it, when Christ has done all that Page 18 was required, and failed not, and that at the due time, (as it is said Rom. 5.) If Christ had failed or come short but of a little of what he was to do, God might have denyed to let the world go upon trust any longer: But now Jesus Christ hath performed all, and is afore∣hand with him, and hath put in stock enough to par∣don sinners to the end of the world.
Yet 5. Now even Justice it self will call upon him to discharge sinners, it will not let him rest in quiet till he has pardoned and shewed mercy unto poor sin∣ners that come to Christ, and hath given in their bond, and this, though we had no promise to shew for it, yea, though Christ himself had nothing to shew for it: Gods very justice would trouble him (I may so speak with reverence, for he himself sayes, that he was troubled for Ephraim, Ier. 29.) till he had given out an acquitance, because he knows the debt is paid, and also, that Christs and his own intent was, that when Christ had once dyed, sinners should thereby be ju∣stified: Even as if an honest man had a bond for a debt that is discharged, lying still in his hands, of which payment, he whose debt it is, knowes nothing, although he or they that paid this debt were dead, so that there were no one left that were able to chal∣lenge an acquaintance from him, and a cancelling of that bond; yet meer honesty would cause him to give it in. Now Jesus Christ dyed, and God himselfe put him to death meerly to pay our debts, and says Christ at his death;
That was Christs will which he made at his death, (as you have it Heb. 9. 16, 17. where the Apostle calls Page 19 it Heb. 9. 16, 17. where the Apostle calls it a Testament confirmed by the death of the Testator) now there is no∣thing so sacred as the performance of the will of the dead. And now Christ himself is alive again, and is ordained by God to be his own Executor, and so lives to claime an acquitance; therefore certainly God will never withhold it: In justice he cannot, he will not, have a bond lie by him that is discharged. Hence it is said, that God is just to forgive our sinnes, 1 Iohn 1.
There are three things which do cry for Justice, and all do meete in this.
1. The wages of a hireling (if detained) are said to cry. So in the 5. of Iames it is said, The wages of Hire∣lings detained, do crie in the eares of the Lord of Hosts: They cry wages being due in justice, and because Gods Justice is thereby provoked, and cannot be quiet till God hath avenged it. And so would Christs sa∣tisfaction having been made for us; It would restles∣ly cry to God, and not suffer his Justice to be quiet, unles we were pardoned. For he was truly and indeed Gods hired Servant in this work: And God covenant∣ed to give him the salvation of those he dyed for as his wages and reward, as Isaiah often represents it, Chap. 53. and elsewhere. So that if God be just, he must give forth salvation; otherwise Christs obedi∣ence would cry as the work of an hireling doth for wages.
A Second thing that cries for justice, is the will of one that is dead unperformed, who hath bequeathed legacies, & left wherewith to pay and discharge them. And this is yet a louder cry then the former. Now Christ before he dyed, did thus make his will, and be∣queathed Page 20 pardon of sin and justification, and that eter∣nall inheritance in heaven, as legacies to those for whom he dyed, and to be given out by God after his death, as I observed even now out of Heb. 9. 15, 16, 17. where it is said that Christ was The Mediator of the New Testament, that by meanes of death they who are cal∣led might receive the promise (or bequeathed legacie) of eternall life. And thereupon ver. 16, 17. the Apostle calls this a Testament, confirmed by his death, and which at his death began to be in force, so ver. 17. And of all things that in justice are held due, the performance of the will of the dead, hath ever been held most sacred.
There is yet a third thing which cries for justice, and that is innocent blood spilt. And this cries low∣der then all the rest. So Genes. 4. 10. And the Apostle Heb. 12. 24. sets forth the cry of Christs blood for us, by Abels blood crying against Cain.
It may be notwithstanding this that God may put the bond in suit against a sinner to make him come to acknowledge the debt, (as the Apostle there speakes [If we confesse our sins]) But if any soul doth say, I have sinned and it profited me not; God then cannot with∣hold from throwing down his bond canceld, saying, Deliver him, I have found a ransome, (Iob 33.) God will not have innocent blood, such as his Sons is, to ly up∣on him. If he should not pardon sinners, Christs blood would be upon him, for it was for them on∣ly that Christ dyed, being in himself innocent.
6. God mends not himself by damning those for whom Christ dyed: Now there were not only an in∣justice to Christ and us in it, but God himself also Page 21 would prove a loser. For the end of Christs death was not simply to satisfie justice, so as without it ju∣stice could not have permitted a pardon, that might have been dispensed with, but it was chiefly to de∣clare the glory of Gods justice, which required such a satisfaction, (as the Apostle sayes Rom. 3. 25.) To [de∣clare] his righteousnesse for the remission of sins that are past, through Gods forbearance. Is was we see the ma∣nifestation or declaration of the glory of his justice that he aimed at in it. So as if any one mans sin satis∣fied for by Christ, should be left unforgiven, Gods justice should lose so much glory. And if justice should think to get a greater glory out of the sinners, that could never be: for the sinner is unable ever to satisfie, and so to glorify Gods justice by suffering as Christ hath done. Yea, and besides, God would be a fur∣ther and a greater loser in the glory of his mercy also, which by his pardoning sinne is advanced.
The second part of the Observation. Demonstrations of Christs willingnesse to receive sinners that come to him. First how his heart stood from everla∣sting.—
AND so now I come to Christs willingnesse, which was the second thing propounded in the do∣ctrine, to be demonstrated. Now though his will was not first in it, (as was said) yet we shall finde him to have been no lesse willing then his Father. As Christ in subsisting is the second person, and hath his personall subsistence from his Father, so he is second Page 22 also in order of working, and consequently, of wil∣ling too, yet he is not second to him in heartinesse of willing: but as his Father and he are equall, so in all that his Father willeth, his will is equall with his Fa∣ther, and so, is as much in this busines as his.
In the demonstrating of this, I will take the same course that I did in the former:
First, I will shew how hearty he was in this, To have sinners saved before he came into the world.
And Secondly, How willing he was since he came into the world, and since his death and going out of the world.
And as a generall introduction to either, I shall pre∣mise this, which shall be as the corner stone in this building, joyning both parts of this discourse toge∣ther, and is a consequent of what hath formerly been delivered.
The thing to be premised is this: That if God the Father be willing, then Jesus Christ must needs be willing also, and look how much the will of the one is in it, so much the will of the other must be in it al∣so, for the Father and he are all one; And this will serve for our further assurance of the wils of either; and we may make use of it both wayes, either to argue to our faith, that if the Father be willing, Christ must needs be so also; and that if Christ be willing, the Father is so also. That whereas some mens thoughts have been more taken up about, and so more taken with the consideration of how much the Fathers heart was in it, and how active and plotting he was about it: and again, others mens apprehensions have been carried more unto Christs heart in the work: Page 23 this Demonstration which I have in hand shall be a help to the faith of either of these; so that if your hearts have a door of Faith, (as the Apostle speaks) set open, or a window to see either into Gods heart, or Christs, you may raise a confidence of the one from the other, and so come to be sure of both.
And this also I do first mention, because it is the most intrin∣secall bottome-demonstration that can be made of Christs wil∣lingnesse, and is the utmost reason of it.
This demonstration I found upon Joh. 10. 30. [I and my Fa∣ther are one] That whereas in this my Text he shewes how his Fathers will and his agree in one, he there gives the reason of it, for (sayes he) we are one: and the words there, as they stand in their coherence, are proper to the purpose in hand. For Christ there alledgeth them, as the reason why his heart, and power, and all in him is so engaged for the salvation of his own, that if he have any power in him, and be able to do any thing, not one of them shall perish, because his Father and he are one. For mark the occasion upon which he speaks this, it is the same that here in my Text. He had been speaking of saving his sheep, and of his pow∣er and will to save them; and concludes, that they shall never perish. And he sayes not only, that he will never cast them out, (as here) but that, neither shall any man pluck them out of his hand. And in that speech he shewes and utters the strength of his will, as much as of his power. For otherwise although his hand of power had been never so potent to have held them, against all op∣position, yet if his will had not as strongly resolved to hold them in his hand, and so, if they were not as deep in his heart as they are fast in his hands, this speech of his had not been made good, That they shall never perish. And then he gives the reason both of this resoluteness of his will, and this prevalencie of his power, from his Fathers both will and power, engaged as much as his own, in this fulnesse: My Father (sayes he) that gave them me is greater then all, and none is able to pluck them cut of my Fathers hands. He pleads here first his Fathers will, [He gave them me:] And then secondly, his power, (whom these Jewes he spake to acknowledged greater than all, though him they did not) He is greater then all; none can pluck them out of his hands: and then argues to himself, [My Father and I are one:] One in nature, Page 24 therefore much more in will. Two persons that have distinct essence, may yet be one in will, as the Ten Kings are said to be of one minde when they agreed in one thing, Rev. 17. 13, 17. so Act. 4. 32. it is said, that they that believed were of one heart, and of one soule, that is, in judgement and consent of minde. But Christ and God the Father are one yet neerer; one in nature, and there∣fore much more entire in will, for by nature they have but one will between them. And that place speaks at once in relation to both their willingnesse to save, as to both their powers to save sinners. And this is not only an Argument that they did both agree, and were like to agree in it; but that they can never dis∣agree. Two that essentially have two wills, though for the pre∣sent agreeing in one; yet it may be supposed that they may come to disagree, and not will the same thing: but if they essentially have but one will, it is impossible then but that they must ever agree. This great security therefore doth Christ give for the sal∣vation of sinners. You have not only two Persons engaged, Per∣sons greater then all, but all that is in them engaged, both their Power and Will; and what more can be desired? And if the one holds his purpose, the other must also; for they are one. You have the one-nesse of God and Christ given you for security; so that if they can never be made two, and wrought asunder, then sinners must needs be saved. Till these two Persons do disagree, you are sure enough; and they must cease to be, ere they can cease to agree; for they are one, and one in being.
We have another testimony as full as this, 1 John 5. 7. There are three that beare record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, (we are yet surer here is a third Person that comes in) and these three are one. Now what is the thing that these do witnesse unto? ver. 11. it followes, This is the record, that God hath given to us eternall life, and this life is in his Sonne. Here their truth is pawned, as in that other place their power was: for the Apostle alledgeth this as such a truth, as they all agree and stand in to make good. And to prove this, he sayes (as in that other place, Joh. 10.) that these three are one: that is, one in nature, therefore one in will; and so also one in witnesse to this truth. He sayes not only, They agree in one; for you shall ob∣serve, that whereas there are three other witnesses mentioned to Page 25 be on earth, there is this difference put between their concur∣rencie in their testimonies and that of these, that they agree in one, (so ver. 8.) but there is more said of these, namely, that they are one; that is, in Nature, and so in Will or Purpose; and so must needs much more agree in one. Now that thing which their wils, and testimonies, and all agree in, is (as hath been said) that God hath given us eternall life; and this life is in his Son, to all that shall come for it. So that for Demonstrations of this, I need go no further. If there be any Power, Will, or Truth in these Per∣sons, Sinners shall be saved.
This being premised, as the most bottome ground of Christs being at first, and his continuing to be for ever willing to pardon sinners; let us more particularly see, first, how his heart stood to the salvation of them before he came into the world: and then secondly, how it stood enclined unto it after he was come; and what confirmations our faith may have from both. So that the thing that I am herein to speak to, is not so much his willingnes to the work of Redemption it self, (that I have elswhere handled apart) but his willingnesse and readinesse to save sinners.
1. Let us see how his heart stood to this before the world was, and before he came into it. And for this we find, that his delights were set upon it; so Prov. 8. 31. [Rejoycing in the habitable parts of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.] Which words are more properly spoken of Christ, then of God the Father; and therefore I produce them under this Head. For they are said to be spoken by Wisdome, that is, Christ himself, he therein shewing how his minde stood towards us before the world began: for he speaks what he and his Father did before the mountains were, &c. I was set up from everlasting, ver. 22. Then I was by him, &c. ver. 30. And how did they passe away that long aevum? (as the Apostle cals it) in nothing but rejoycing and delights. He there speaks of nothing else that they did. And what was the matter of delight unto them?
1. He and his Father delighted one in another, ver. 30.
2. In the salvation of men, My delights were with the sons of men, so ver. 31. And he speaks of men as falne; for it is said in the beginning of the same verse, that he rejoyced in the habitable parts of his earth; which is spoken not of the Jews only, but of Page 26 the Gentiles too, and of men all the earth over. Now first, De∣lights arise out of the strongest and choicest desires. Men are pleased with many things in which they delight not. Christs heart and desires must needs have been most on that which his delights are in. Again, secondly, the greater the persons are, and the greater their minds are, the greater are their delights. Things of great concernment are usually the objects which are the de∣lights of Kings, and which they take pleasure in. Now the great God and Jesus Christ singled out the pardon and reconciliation of sinners for their chiefe delights.
3. Their delight herein is mentioned, and in no other work of theirs: not the Angels, nor the World, nor any thing in it.
4 This their delight is mentioned next to their delighting in each other.
And fiftly, this delight he took aforehand, whilst his heart was only in the expectation of it, and his mind but laying the plot of it. He delights in it ere he doth it. And if all this joy of his be only in the thoughts of it, how much more will it delight him when he comes to do it? All this argues how great a matter this was in his esteem, and how much his heart was in it, and that from everlasting.
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.
Some Extrinsecall demonstrations of Gods and Christs willingnesse to pardon sinners.
ANd unto all these secret engagements both of God and Christ mutually to each other, and to us, we may adde all the professed publications of their minds herein unto us, which have been made upon all occasions and by all means possible. As,
First, This newes hath been published by all three persons, first God the Father he began to preach it to Adam in Paradise, and hath renued it again and again, as with his own immediate voice from Heaven when Christ was baptized, This is my wel∣beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, heare him: which the Apostle Peter records and confirmes, as spoken a second time upon the Mount, as a matter of highest moment to be known by us, which voyce he heard (sayes he) and is no fable, 2 Pet. 1. 16, 17.
Secondly, Christ who is the faithfull and true witnes, Rev. 1. 5. he came from the bosome of his Father, and preached peace, Ephes. 2. 17. Yea and it was one of his first texts he preached up∣on, Luke 4. 18. The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anoynted me to preach the Gospel, to preach deliverance to the captives.
Thirdly, The Holy Ghost he also herewith bearing witnesse, that God hath exalted Christ to be a Prince and Saviour, to give re∣pentance and forgivenesse of sinnes. Acts 5. 31, 32. And so Heb. 2. 45. And these are these three witnesses in heaven, 1 John 5. 7. whose record as it followes is this, that there is life to be had in his Son Jesus Christ, v. 11.Page 31
Secondly, God hath published this newes both by all creatures reasonable, and to all creatures reasonable.
First, the Angels they came and preached it, singing, Peace on earth, good will towards men Luke 2. 13, 14.
Secondly, By men, and to that end he hath given gifts to men, powerfull and full of glory, Ephes. 4. 8. &c. And a commission with those gifts, a most large and gratious one, And he hath committed to us the ministery of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. 2 Cor. 5. 20.
Yea and thirdly, he hath maintained this ministry in all ages, even to our times, all times have rung of the newes hereof, and the world is still full of his Embassadors to treat with men about this peace, and they are to proclaime that he is fully willing; and upon that ground to beseech men to be reconciled, and so long as Leiger Embassadors reside uncalled home, or not sent for away, so long the treaty of peace holds.
Fourthly, He hath proclaimed this by these this Embassadors in all places; he bad them go and preach it to all the world, to every creature, Mark 16. 15. And his Disciples did accordingly. Now he would not have had it spoken so openly and generally, if he were not most serious in it.
Fiftly, Adde to this, that he hath declared it by all wayes and meanes that do argue faithfulnesse and seriousnesse.
First, Not by bare word of mouth, but we have it under his hand, he hath left his mind in writing. This book which is dropt from heaven, the title of it is, The word of reconciliation. 2 Cor. 5. 19. the main argument of it being reconciliation. In this book we find, proclamation sent forth after proclamation, book after book, line after line, all written to this end, that we sinners might have hope and strong consolation, as the Apostle witnesseth.
Secondly, He hath added to this writing those seales of the Sacraments, and further an oath to both, and that made advi∣sedly with the greatest earnestnesse and deliberation that might be, Heb. 6. 17. God willing (the text sayes) more abundantly to manifest this his intent, the immutability of his counsell, he con∣firmed that promise with an oath, that by two immutable things, his word and oath, we might have strong consolation.
Thirdly, If this be not sufficient, he hath pawned heaven and Page 32 earth, the Covenant of day and night in Mortgage to forgive ini∣quity and pardon sinners. Thus Jer. 31. 34, 35, 36. This is my Covenant (sayes God there) that I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sinnes no more, so ver. 34. and then it follows ver. 35. Thus saith the Lord, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and stars for a light by night: If those ordinances depart from before me, then the seed of Israel, &c. The like you have, Chap. 33. 25, 26. Day and night we see stand still, and therefore this Covenant holds good still; but we have a greater pawn then this, the death of his Son.
And lastly, Let his actions and courses, which he hath taken from the beginning of the world speak for all the rest, as satan hath been a murtherer from the beginning, so God hath been a Saviour from the beginning, and Christ is the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world. God began with the first of man∣kind, even with Adam and Eve, the ringleaders, the heads of this rebellion, who drew all the rest of the world into that enmity, these were yet reconciled. Kings usually hang up the heads and chiefe in treasons, for examples of their justice, though they par∣don others; yet these did God save and pardon as examples of his mercy, to all that should come of them; and it is observe∣able that the first thing he did, after the world was fallen, was this act of mercy, both in preaching this Gospel, and in pardon∣ing them, he began to do that soon, which he meant to be al∣wayes a doing to the end of the world, it argues he delights in it, yea and according to Christ last promise on earth, (that he would be with us to the end of the world,) God is to this day reconciling the world of men to himself. Some that walk in your streets by you, live among you. And he will have thousands when you are gone, and what are these but as flags, and patternes of mercy, hung forth by God to toll and bring others in, as Ephes. 2. 7.
WHat should the consideration of these things work in our hearts, but what the scope of the text it self puts men upon, even that they would come in unto Christ, and beleeve on him, and give up their souls unto him? He that beleeves shall in no wise be cast out. As Christ therefore is willing: so should we, Page 33 be a willing people. That which keepes men off, is, that they know not Christs minde and heart, think it not to be an indifferent thing to him whether you beleeve, or no; as if he came into the world to do this duty of dying for sinners, singly in obedience to his Fa∣ther, so that men might be rendred savable if they will: and that however, if they will not, he yet hath enough to satisfie and quiet himself with, even this that he shall be glorified in what he hath done, though few or none of the sons of men be saved. It is a pre∣judiciall doctrine this, to the salvation of men, and derogatory to Christs free love. What, do we think that Jesus Christ is gone to heaven, there to complaine unto Angels of the unkindnesse and hardnes of mens hearts, that will not turne to him notwithstand∣ing he hath done so much, and to tell what he had done for them, and what they would not be perswaded to do for themselves; and that so he can sufficiently please himself with such just complaints? no surely; our effectuall salvation concernes him more then so: and his heart is more fully bent upon it then thus to leave it, of what he hath bought he will lose nothing. The truth is, he is more glad of us then we can be of him. The Father of the Prodigall was the forwarder of the two to that joyfull meeting. Hast thou a minde? he that came down from Heaven (as himself saith, in the text) to dye for thee, will meet thee more then half way (as the prodigals father is said to do) by his spirit; he will send him from Heaven to thee, and at the latter day himself will come again to fetch thee and receive thee to himself. If among the Angels in Heaven there be joy at the conversion of a sinner, how much more joy is there in Christs heart? If there be joy in the bed chamber men (as Iohn speakes) what joy is there in the bridgrooms hearts? or if among the standers by, when a man∣child is borne into the world, how much more doth the mother that was in travaile for it (as Christs soul was,) how much more doth she rejoyce? O therefore come in unto him. If you knew his heart you would. As they that crucified him knew him not, so neither do those who beleeve not in him. If you had been on earth with him, or if he were now here, and had this day preacht these things unto you, and uttered these his own desires, and long∣ings after you; how would you in troopes go all thronging after him when the Sermon were done, and each of you come about him 〈◊…〉 that had diseases did) and beseech him to pardon and save Page 34 you; and not leave him till you have obtained some word of com∣fort and favour from him! Let me tell you, he had preacht this day, but that he had other busines to do for you in Heaven, where he is now praying and intereceding for you, even when you are sin∣ning; (as on earth we see he did for the Jews when they were a crucifying him.) Now because he could not for this other busines come himself, he therefore sends us his Ambassadours, and we in Christ stead do beseech you; and it is as if Christ by us did be∣seech you: and we preach but such things as were first spoken by the Lord himselfe, (as it in Heb. 2.) And he sends his spirit, and con∣tinues to give gifts unto men to this very day: and in all these respects, when ever the Gospel is preacht, he is said to spe•k from heaven, Refuse not him that speaks from heaven, Heb. 12. 23. And though you have not his bodily presence as they had who heard himselfe preach here on earth; yet you may by faith have as free an accesse unto him, and know as surely that he heares you, as if he were in the same roome with you. Retire there∣fore into your closet, and treat with him in private, and there presse these things on him; say them all over again unto himself, and ask him if they be not true: get the match struck up between thy soule & him; which if once made, will never be undone again. Say unto him, Lord, why may it not be made up now? Only let me adde this; see you come not to him without a wedding-garment, and wedding-affections. Take up a resolution to love him. For if thou comest to him, what dost thou come for? pardon of sins? and what is it in him that must procure that? his having dyed for thee; that was it. And what was it that moved him to die? an infinite love; such a love, as were the thing yet to be done, he would certain∣ly do it, and die to satisfie God for thee. Now then, seeing he hath already done it out of such a love with what face canst thou ask pardon of him, as the effect of such a love, and not love him again, and obey him in all things? But to make short work with you, know this; that if thou wilt not come in to him, thou wilt be dam∣ned. So saith Christ, He that beleeves shall be saved; but he that be∣leeves not shall be damned. And I could tell you another, and as large a story of Christs wrath against those that refuse him, as I have told you of his love: The Lamb can be angry; for he is a Li∣on also, O consider this therefore, lest he teare you in pieces, and th••… be none to deliver you.