HEBREWES 2.17, 18.
IT hath been opened and applied, that the work of the High-Priest, was, and is, To satisfie for the sins of the people; to make Intercession for them; and to offer up their Gifts unto God the Father; all which Christ doth for us.
I shall speak of one work more of our great High-Priest, and that is, To bless the people. We reade in the Old-Testament, of two sorts of High-Priests: One according to the order of Aaron, the Levitical High-Priest, (as I may so speak) and his work was, for to Bless the Peo∣ple; as we may reade in the 6. Chapter of Numbers, & the 23. verse: Speak unto Aaron, and unto his Sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the Children of Israel, saying unto them &c. There was another High-Priest; not according to this or∣der of Aaron; and that was Melchisedec: and he also did Blesse Abraham. And the Apostle speaking of him as a great Type of, and in relation to Jesus Christ our great High-Priest, Page 77in the 7. Chapter of this book of the Hebrews, and the 6. verse, saith, That he blessed Abrabam: But he whose de∣scent is not counted from them, received tithes of Abraham, and Blessed him that had the Promises. So then, this Blessing of the people, being the work of both the High-Priests; and both Aaron and Melchisedec being great types of Jesus Christ our High-Priest; Surely, it must needs be one of the great works of our High-Priest, for to blesse the people.
For the opening, and cleering up of this Truth, I shall endeavour to discover:
- First, What the Blessing of Christ our High-Priest is, where∣in consists, and what Christ doth when he doth Bless the people.
- Secondly, That it belongs unto Jesus Christ especially, for to Bless the people.
- Thirdly, That our Lord and Saviour Christ, our great High-Priest is exceeding willing for to Bless poor sinners; and that this Blessing of the people, is a work whereunto he is much inclined, and wherein he is much delighted.
- Fourthly, That he doth this, and doth it fully.
- Fifthly, according to our method: How all this doth con∣duce unto our Comfort, and unto our Holiness.
First If ye aske me, What the Blessing of Christ, [Quest. 1] and of the Gospel is; and wherein it consists?
I answer First in the General, That the Blessing of the Gos∣pel, [Answ.] and of Christ, consisteth in Spiritual things especially, and not in Temporal. And therefore saith the Apostle, in that 1. of the Ephesians, and the 3. verse: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us, with all Spiritual blessings, in Heavenly places in Christ. The Curse, and Judg∣ments of God, that do befal men now under the Gospel, are not in outward afflictions, and bodily troubles so much; as in Spiritual miseries, Blindness of mind, and Hardness of heart: And so also on the contrary, the bles∣sing of the Gospel, doth not consist much in Outward things, as in Spiritual, Who hath blessed us with Spiritual blessings. Indeed, if we look into the old Testament we Page 78shall find, That when Moses did bless the people, he blest them much in Temporal blessings. in the 28. of Deuterono∣my, and the 2. verse. All these things shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God. What blessings are those? Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field: blessed shall be the fruit of thy bo∣dy, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattel, the in∣crease of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep: blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Thus he goes on in outward blessings. But now, if we look into the Gospel, and consider the bles∣sings of Jesus Christ, and lay them together with Moses, we shall find them to be Spiritual blessings. In the 5. of Mat∣thew, and the 3. verse, &c. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the Kingdom of Heaven: Blessed are those that mourn, for they sall be comforted. Indeed the promise of the earth comes is at the 5. vers; but he returns again to Spiritual blessings: Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after right∣ousness; for they shall be filled. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God. Here are Spiritual blessings; this is the stream of the Gospel, it runs this way. When the Lord blesseth a man, he gives him that which is sutable to him. In the times of the Gospel, men are more Spiritual than they were in the times of the Law; therefore Gospel-bles∣sings, they are Spiritual blessings. Every thing gives, and communicates to another, according to what it hath it self: The Sun communicates light unto the world; because it hath light it self: And man communicates the nature of man unto his child, because he hath the nature of man himself. So our Lord Christ, when he Blesses, he com∣municates according unto what he hath himself; and his blessings especially consisting in spiritual things, so he doth blesse. Indeed, as in the times of the Old Testament there were Spiritual blessings, that were mixt with Tempo∣ral, by vertue of the Covenant that was made with Abra∣ham: So now, Outward blessings are thrown in as an o∣verplus: but yet notwithstanding, though they be not spi∣ritual in their nature, they are spiritual in their end; and Page 79so it is true to say, That the blessing of the Gospel, and of Christ is a spiritual blessing.
But more particularly, if yet ask me wherein this consist∣eth? I shall name but Two things:
First, This Blessing of the Gospel, or of Christ, [unspec 1] it consists in a supernatural, and spiritual injoyment of God in Christ, the love and favour of God in Christ. When the Priests blest in the time of the old Testament, in that 6. of Numbers, they said, The Lord cause his face for to shine upon you. The Lord make his face for to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee: the Lord blesse thee, and keepe thee. Verse, 24, 25, 26. Which the Spostle Paul expounding, in the 2 Cor. the 13. Chapter and the 14. verse, renders it thus: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. The Lord blesse thee, the Lord cause his face to shine upon you; the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you: Three times, the Lord, the Lord, the Lord; noting the Trinity; which the Apostle here explains by the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit. Blessed are the pure in heart:*for they shall see God. Seeing of God, is a blessing out of the mouth of Christ, a Gospel-blessign. And what is it for a man to see God? In the phrase of the old Testament, the He∣brew, to See, it is ordinarily used for to Injoy. In the 4. Psalme. Who will shew us any good? The word in the He∣brew is, Who will make us to See any good? that is t In∣joy good. So then, to see God, it is to injoy him. When Jacob injoyed God, he saw him; and the place it was cal∣led, Peniel; for he had seen the Lord, and there the Lord blest him. There's no seeing of God but in Christ. And therefore I say, that herein confists the blessing of the Gos∣pel, in a supernatural, and spiritual in joyment of God in Christ, the favour and love of God in Christ.
Again, It consists also, [unspec 2] in the Inhabitation of the holy Ghost in our hearts: the giving out of the holy Ghost unto the hearts of men. And therefore it is added in that place of the Corin∣thians; And the Communion of the holy Ghost, be with you all.Page 80Amen. That must needs be the great blessing of the Gospel, and so of Christ; that is the thing promised in the Gospel. What is that? If we look into the 1. Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and the 4. verse, It is said there of the Disci∣ples, That they should wait for the promise of the Father. Christ commaded them that they should not depart from Jerusa∣lem, but wait for the promise of the Father. What is that? We know what it was, and is, that which befel afterward; it was the giving out of the holy Ghost: the holy Ghost fell upon them, & this is called THE promise of the Father. That as in the times of the Old Testament, the promise was, the giving of the Son, and coming of the Second Person: So after Christ came, the great promise was, the coming of the Third Person, and the giving of the holy Ghost. When I am gone (saith Christ) I'le send ye another Comforter. He that beleeveth, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This he spake concerning the Spirit, which was not yet given, in those extraordinary emanations of gists and graces, be∣cause he was not yet glorisied. So then, the great Blessing that was to be given unto the children of men, the great Gospel-blessing, was the giving out of the holy Ghost: this is a Gospel-blessing indeed.
Well, [Ques.] But what doth Christ do, when he doth Bless?
It's observable, [Answ. 1] that when any Superiour did Blesse; a father did blesse his child, or the like, he did observe what was the choice mercy, and good in those times, and he did wish that unto his child, or unto his inferiour. And so in Isaac, and Jacobs time; the choice good it was, The dew of Heaven: and when they did blesse their children, they wish't unto them the dew of Heaven. So now, when our Iord Jesus, our great High-Priest doth blesse any man; observing that the choice mercy of the Gospel, is the injoy∣ment of God in Christ, the favour and love of God, and the giving out of the holy Ghost into a mans heart; he doth wis all this good unto him, and he saies unto God the Fa∣ther; Lord, let this poor soul have thy favour; Oh! cause thy face to shine upon this poor soul, and give out the holy Ghost unto it that it may walk after the spirit.Page 81
In the Second place, It's observable, That when the Priests did Blesse the people, they did not barely wish good unto them, but they did Authoratatively pronounce them blessed.*They shall put my name upon them (saith the Lord) when they bless. So when the Lord Christ, our great High-Priest, doth Blesse a man, he does not barely wish him good, The Lord cause his face for to shine upon that soul, in a way of wishing: but the Lord Christ being a High-Priest, when he blesseth, he doth authoratatively pronounce such a soul to be Blessed.
Thirdly, When the Priest Blessed, [unspec 3] he did not only pro∣nounce the people Blessed: but in the Blessing of the Priest, there was a kind of Binding-power; it had the power, force, and efficacy of an Absolution. And therefore as Christ saies unto his Disciples, Go, and whosoever sins ye re∣mit, they shall be remitted: I'le stand by you in it. So saith the Lord in that same place, the 6. of Numbers. On this wise shall ye bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord blesse thee, and keep thee. and at the 27. verse, They shall put my Name upon the children of Israel, and I will blessethem. I'le stand by them in this. So when the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High-Priest, doth Blesse; he doth not only pro∣nounce a man to be Blessed, but he doth Absolve him from all his sins; & (saith he) by authority that is given to me from my father, the Keyes that are put into my hand, I do Bind this blessing upon this poor soul.
Further, The Priest when he blessed, [unspec 4] indeed he could wish well, and he could pronounce a man blessed; and he might Absolve: but he could go no further, he could not confer the Blessing, he could not bestow the Blessing: But our Lord Christ, being an High-Priest beyond all the High-Priests that ever were before him in this respect too; where he doth Blesse, he bestoweth the Blessing, being God and man, he bestoweth the Blessing.
In the Fifth place, This our great High-Priest, [unspec 5] being God and Man; look how God Blesseth, so doth he Blesse. In the Scripture, ye shall find, That when God the Father Page 82Blessed, he said unto those things that he blest, Increase and Multiply: still when he blest, Increase and Multiply. So the Lord Jesus Christ our High-Preist, when he comes to blesse, he doth not barely wish good unto a poor soul, or pronounce him blessed, or beslow a good thing upon him; but saith he, O soul, Multiply in this good; the Lord increase thy Graces, and thy Gifts, and thy Comforts; poor soul, Increase and Multiply herein. This the Lord Christ our great High-Priest doth. Thus it's cleer what the Blssing of the Gospel is, wherein it consists; and what our High-Priest doth, when he doth blesse the people.
But Secondly, [Quest. 2] Does this Blessing properly, or specially belong unto Jesus Christ?
Yes,Answ. For he was made a curse for sin; he and none else made a curse for sin: and therefore it belongs unto him a∣bove all the world for to blesse. For look what evil Jesus Christ endured, the contrary good he merited for the chil∣dren of men, a power to bestow that good. Now he above all was cursed, hung upon the Crosse, and died a cursed death, he was made a curse; therefore it belongs unto him above all for to give the blessing, for to blesse poor sinners. Primum in quolibet genere &c. The first in every kind is the cause of the rest. The Sun is the cause of all the light we have here below, and 'tis the first light body. And the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the first blessing: Therefore hath they God blest thee for ever. There are Three that we reade of in Scripture especially that did blesse: The Father, the King, and the Priest: The Father did blesse his Children; the King blest his Subjects, and the Priest blest the People. Now the Lord Jesus Christ He is our Father, The Everlasting Father; He is our King, I will set my King upon my holy hill; And he is our great High-Priest: and therefore, all these relations meeting in him, it belongs unto him above all for to blesse the people.
But is the Lord Jesus Christ Willing for to Blesse poor sinners, [Quest. 3] and inclin'd unto it?
Yes, [Answ.] He is very Willing: this blessing of the people, it Page 83is a work whereunto he is much inclin'd, and wherein he is most delighted. Ye shall observe therefore, what abun∣dance of blessings Christ scattered among the people when he was here upon the earth. Ye don't reade that ever he cursed any man, formally cursed him: Once indeed, he pronounced a Curse, but it fell upon a barren fig-tree, not upon a man: But take your Bibles, and turne over from leaf to leaf, and see how frequent he was in blessing: and consider whether you do reade in al the Bible, of any Prea∣cher, or Prophet, that ever in the way of their preaching, pronounced so many Blessings as Christ did? He begins blessing, Blessed are the poor; and Blessed are those that mourn; and Blessed are those that hunger and thirst; and Blessed are those that are persecuted for my Names sake: Blessed are those that hear the Word of God and keep it: He took little children into his arms and Blest them. Do but mark in all the Gospel, how fre∣quent Christ was in Blessing, never in Cursing; more fre∣quent in blessing, than ever any Preacher was in all his Ser∣mons: What's the reason of this? Because this work of Blessing the people, is a work wherein the Lord Jesus Christ our High-Priest, is much delighted, a work whereunto he is most in clined.
Well, But doth he do it? [Quest. 4]
Yes, He doth do it, and doth it fully. [Answ.] The same place that I named will prove it, the 1. of the Ephesians, and the 3. verse, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in beavenly places IN Christ. Nor only meritoriously, but by the hand of Christ. And (saith he) He hath done it: with all spiritu∣al blessings, and he hath done it by Jesus Christ.
You will say, We don't see that men are thus blest by Christ:*for where Christ blesseth, he doth not only wish well, and good unto a wan, but he bestoweth it, yea, he doth not only bestow good, but he doth increase and multiply; But upon this account, how few are there in the world that are blest by Christ!
For Answer, [Answ. 1] It is a hard thing (sometimes) unto a Christian for to discern-this Blessing of Christ. Ye can see the Boughs, Page 84Fruit, Body, Bark of the Tree; but if ye will see the Root, ye must dig, and take pains for to see it: it's an easie thing to see the Leaves, &c. but if you would see the Root, ye must dig and take pains for it. This Blessing of Jesus Christ, it is the Root of all; and if you will see this, you must dig and take pains to see it, it does not lie open to every ones view. The Lord Jesus Christ our High-Priest, does not Blesse as man blesses; and so his Blessing is very much hid∣den from our eyes; he does not blesse as we do; he does not bless as the world does: if the world sees a Rich man, it pronounces him blessed: Oh! there's a blessed man, and there's a happy man! what an excellent Dwelling hath he, how healthful! his Table is spread &c. The world blesses Rich men, pronounces them Happy and blessed. But our Lord Jesus Christ, he does as Jacob did; when Joseph brought his two Sons to Jacob to be blest by him; he set Ephraim the younger at the left hand of Jacob; and he set Manasses the elder at the right hand of Jacob; that Jacob might give the right-hand blessing to the Elder, and the left-hand bles∣sing to the Younger: but when Joseph had set them thus before Jacob, Jacob crosses hands, and he turns the right-hand blessing to the Younger. So, two men are brought before Christ; a Rich man (it may be) and a Poor man: and in the eye of the world, the Rich man must carry the blessing: Oh! but our Lord Christ, he crosses hands, and he laies the blessing upon the younger brother many times. And so in regard of Ordinances. Two sorts of Ordinances are brought before Christ; Gods Ordinance, and Mans Ordinance; and Mans Ordinance, in the eye of the world, is the Elder brother, and Gods Ordinance the Younger brother; and both these are brought before Christ for a blessing, and the Ordinance of Man is set at the right hand of Christ by the world; but the Lord Christ, he crosses hands, and he laies the blessing upon the younger brother in this respect. And so, two men are brought before him; a proud Pharisee, and a poor broken-hearted sinner; the Pharisee comes unto the right-hand of Christ, & thinks for Page 85to carry the blessing: but the Lord Christ, crosses hands, & laies the right-hand blessing upon the poor broken-hearted sinner, and passes by the proud Pharisee. The Lord Christ doth not blesse as the world blesseth.
Again, As he doth not Bless as the World Blesseth, [Answ. 2] so he doth not Bless alwaies as Professors Bless. Professors, they do ordinari∣ly Blesse men, according unto their outward Priviledges, Gospel, and Church-Priviledges: Oh! saies the woman unto Christ, Blessed is the womb that bare thee: and blessed are the paps that gave thee suck. Christ crosses hands. Nay but (saies Christ) Blessed are those that hear the word of God, and keep it, and do my Commandements. You blesse according to Outward Priviledges; I don't go that way of blessing, saies Christ: He does not blesse as Professors blesse al∣waies.
Thirdly, He does not blesse as Godly men do blesse alwaies; [Answ. 3] as Gracious men blesse, not alwaies. For, you that are Godly, you pronounce such a man blessed, as hath much Grace, and hath Assurance of the love of God in Christ; and one that hath strong, and great Parts, and able to carry away whole Sermons word for word; and of strong Memory, and large Gifts, that are head and shoulders above their fellows: But the Lord Jesus Christ does not alwaies blesse thus: Blessed are the poor in spirit, saies he. Blessed are those that mourn. He don't say, Blessed are those that rejoyce; or, Blessed are those that have the Assurance of Gods love; or, Blessed are those that are strong in grace: No, but do∣est thou know a poor, weak Christian, a mourning soul like a dove of the vallies; saies the Lord, I blesse him.
Thus I say, the Lord Jesus Christ our great High-Priest, he does not Blesse as We blesse; he does not blesse as the World blesses; he does not blesse alwaies as Professors blesse; he does not blesse alwaies as Godly men Blesse; and therefore no wonder that his Blessing is hidden. Chil∣dren when they are very young, are often blest by their Pa∣rents, and they don't mind it, or take notice of it; chil∣dren of two or three year old: And so it is with many a Page 86gracious soul, blessed by Jesus Christ, and don't take no∣tice of their fathers blessing. But the Lord Christ doth al∣waies blesse his people; only, there are several times, speci∣all seasons that he gives out his blessing: let me tell ye of those times a little, that so ye may come for his blessing while his hand is in, as it were: so that you may be crow∣ned with spiritual blessings in and from Jesus Christ.
First, [unspec 1] When Christ our High-Priest doth see that a man is weak in Grace, or weak in Gifts, and hath some work, or service for him to do, some imployment to call him forth unto; then the Lord Christ doth Blesse him. There are Two times especially (as I remember) that the Lord speaks those words concerning man, Increase and Multiply. Once in the beginning, when he had made man and woman; And once in the 9. of Genesis, when he had brought Noah out of the Ark: Why does he rather choose for to speak those words, Increase and Multiply, at these Two times especially, rather than at any other time? In the beginning there was but a little stook of man-kind, and the Lord had a design upon man, to make use of him in the world; and therefore in the beginning saies he, Increase and Multiply: but afterward, that the floud had swept away man, Noah and his family being pre∣served, when he came out of the Ark, the Lord having yet a further design upon man, to use him, he reneweth those words again, Increase and Multiply. So when the Lord Christ sees, that a mans heart is upright, and sincere with him, and he hath some work and service for him to do, then the Lord comes forth and blesses him; O soul, Increase and Multiply, increase in thy Gifts, and Graces, and Multiply. That is one.
Again, [unspec 2] As the Lord doth blesse weak Gifts, and Graces, when he intends to use them: so also, when as he hath made use of a man; when a man hath done the work of God, and done it to purpose, then the Lord blesses that man. Melchisedec, a great Type of Christ, here when Abraham had been upon a great service, slaying Kings, and resoued Lot, then Melchisedec the High-Priest▪ comes forth and blesses him. So when the Lord Je∣sus Page 87Christ our great High-Priest, sees that a poor soul hath been upon his work, upon his service, and hath done his work faithfully; then he comes forth and blesses that soul, O soul, live for ever.
Again, As he does blesse at this time, [unspec 3] when a man hath done his work; so also, when a man is willing for to leave all his Relations, and natural ingagements for to follow him, to cleave close unto him, and to his waies, and ordi∣nances. The Lord blessed Abraham, Thou shalt be blessed. In Blessing I will Blesse thee, and thou shalt be blessed. Upon what occasion? Abraham (saies he) get thee out of thy Coun∣try, and go to a land, and place that I will shew thee. and Abra∣ham did so, Abraham puld up his Tent, and went after the Lord, and left his own Relations: and thereupon the Lord fell upon him, and blest him. So when the Lord Christ our High-Priest, sees a soul willing, even to trample upon his Relations for to follow him; willing to leave all natu∣ral ingagements for to be his servant; then the Lord Christ comes out, and saies he, This soul do I blesse: In blessing I will blesse thee, and I will blesse thee exceedingly. That is a Third time.
Fourthly, The Lord Christ our High-Priest, does blesse, [unspec 4] when the world Curses. a speciall time of Christs blessing is, when the world Curses. When Rabshekah reviled, blasphemed and Cursed, then God blest. When Balak hired Balaam for to Curse the people of Israel, then the Lord blest them by the mouth of Balaam himself. And ye see what Christ saies to this purpose, in that same 5. chapter of Matthew, at the 10. verse. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousnesse sake: But when are they blessed? Blessed are ye when men shall re∣vile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsly for my sake. Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you. I but, suppose it don't come to a bodily persecution, men may not be thrown in prison, or brought to the stake. Saies he, Blessed are ye when men shall Revile, persecute you with the tongue, and say all manner of evil against you for my sake. When the world saies of such a poor soul, That he is Page 88an Hypocrite, a dissembler, and speaks all manner of evil that can be divised against a poore soule for the Name of Christ; that is the very time, that Christ comes for to bless that soule, then doth Christ blesse; it's a blessed sea∣son.
In the Fift place, [unspec 5] The Lord Christ does also Bless, when as Peo∣ple do graciously injoy the Ordinances, purely, and Evangelically administred. It is said concerning Zion, There command∣ed he his blessing for ever,*Blessed are the people that hear the joyful sound: they shall walk in the light of his countenance. It is written of the Priests in the times of the Old-Testament, that when the people, the Congregation were come toge∣ther, they blest them: when the People were come toge∣ther, for the injoyment of Ordinances according to Gods own appointment, then the Priests blest them. And did their High-Priest blesse them then? and shall not our High Priest do it now? Did their High-Priest blesse them when they sate under Mosaical Ordinances? and shall not our High-Priest blesse the people that sit under Evangelical, and Gospel-Ordinances purely, & Evangelically administred? The people then might make account of the greatest bles∣sing; and so may you do also, of the blessing of Jesus Christ when thus you do enjoy Ordinances. Only there is this difference: (other differences there are, but this only I shall speak of) Then the Priest did blesse the people when the Congregation was dismist: but now, the Lord Jesus Christ our great High-Priest, he is blessing of the Congre∣gation all the while; he is going up and down in the Con∣gregation all the while that the Word is preached, and Ordinances administred, and he is blessing poor souls, as they sit longing after him, and sighing towards him; he is blessing of them all the while. Thus he does blesse, and though you don't alwaies perceive it, yet he doth blesse his people. [Quest. 5] And that's the Fourth thing.
But yet you will say, How does all this conduce unto our Comfort, [Answ.] and unto our Holiness?
Much every way:Page 89
First for Comfort, Beloved, Is it not a Comfortable thing to be blessed by Jesus Christ? Children counted it a great matter to be blest by their parents. when as Jacob had got∣ten the Blessing from Esau; Esau goes and fits down, and mourns, he could not be comforted because the blessing was gone: and Jacob, though he were thrust out of doors, yet because he had gotten the Blessing, he went away cheer∣full; and it was but an Isaac's Blessing. But behold a greater then Isaac is here! Oh! was it such a matter to have an Isaac's Blessing? what is it then to be Blessed by Jesus Christ? Beloved! when as Christ doth bless, he turns all our Curses into Blessings, and our Miseries into Mercies. When God Curses, he turns our Table into a Snare: and when Christ Blesseth, he turnes our snare in∣to a Table, quite contrary. Jacob pronounced a Curse upon his two sons, Simeon and Levi (you know upon what occasion) They should be divided and scattered in Israel: afterward the Tribe of Levi stands up at the cōmandement of God to execute Justice & Judgment, & the Lord blest them: And how did he bless them? They were to be the Preachers unto all the Tribes; and so that they might be Preachers unto all the Tribes, they were to be scattered into all the tribes, & so Jacobs curse was turned into a blessing to them.
Is it not a Comfortable thing, for a man to have all his Cursers, to be Blessers? It's a Comfortable thing, for all a mans Cur∣ses, to become Blessings: But now I say, it's a Comfortable thing, for al a mans Cursers, to be Blesters to him. Whē the Lord Christ Blesses, he will make mens Cursers, whether they wil or no, (in the day of their visitation at least) for to Bless. Ye know that Balaam would have Cursed Israel, but the Lord had blest them. Balaam got upō a high mountain, and from thence he would have Cursed Israel, but it would not be. Then he gets upon another high Mountain, & from thence he would have Cursed Israel, but it would not be. Then he gets upon another high Mountain: thinking that would have done it, and from thence he would have Cur∣sed Israel, but that would not do it. Oh! saies he, The Page 90Lord hath seene no iniquity in Israel, and therefore he Blesses them: the Curse is turned into a Blessing: So there are ma∣ny that deale thus by the people of God in these daies: They get upon such a high Mountain, such a great and high means, and they think to Curse the people of God from thence, but it won't be. Then they get upon ano∣ther Mountain, another means, thinking from thence to Curse the people of God, but it will not be. Then they get upon another high Mountain or hill, and think then to Curse the people of God, and do them mischief, but it will not do it. Why? for the Lord Christ sees no iniqui∣ty, the Lord Christ hath blest them: and so at last, in the day of wicked mens visitation, they are forced to say, These are the people of God, and these are Blessed, and shall be blessed. We know what is said in the Scripture, The blessing of the Lord maketh rich: and he addeth no sorrow therewithal. Is it not a good thing then, to be blest by Christ? If a man be blessed by Jesus Christ, he may blesse himself in the Lord, and he may comfort himself in every Condition, and he may say thus, Well, though I be a Poor man, yet I am blest by Christ: And though my Estate be sunk, and decai∣ed, yet I am blest by Christ: And though I be reproached, and hated by men, yet I am blessed by Jesus Christ; a man may comfort himself in every condition.
But you will say, [Object.] Indeed if a man be assured that Christ hath blest him, he may do thus; but I am afraid that Christ hath not blest me, or that he is not willing to bless me: if I could be assured, that this great High-Priest, had once laid his hand, his blessing∣hand upon me, I should have comfort in all conditions.
Give me leave to lay Two or Three things before you concerning this. [Answ.]
First, [unspec 1] When the Lord blest Abraham, he said unto him, In thee, and thy seed shall all Nations be Blest. It's a sign unto Abraham, that he was blest, because others were blessed by him. So now, when a mans Parts, Gifts, Graces, and Comforts are blessings to others, it is an argument that that man is blest himself.Page 91
Further, When a man is blessed by God, or Christ; [unspec 2] he is drawn nearer to God by all outward things, by all things: Come ye Blessed, Go ye Cursed. Blessing hath an attractive Nature, Come ye Blessed: when the Lord Christ does bless a man, he does draw him, Come ye Blessed. When a man is brought nearer to God by Affliction, he is blessed: when a man is brought nearer to God by his Estate, by any Comfort, by any Sorrow, here is blessing, Come ye Blessed. Blessing draws one nearer to God with a cord of love.
Thirdly, Where the Lord does Bless, he does cause a man to Increase and Multiply, in that thing wherein he is Blest. [unspec 3] Increa∣sing and Multiplying, is so natural unto Blessing, that in the Original tongues of the old and new Testament, Plenty is put for Blessing. I will give you but one clear place for it in the new Testament, the 2 Cor. 9. Chapter, 5. verse. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto ye, and make up before hand your Bounty. The word is, your Blessing. Where∣of you had notice before; that the same might be ready as a matter of Bounty. The word is, as a matter of Blessing. But especially in the next verse. But this I say, he which sow∣eth sparingly, shal reap sparingly: and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap bountifully. And he which soweth with Blessing (as it is in the Original) shall reap with Blessing: And here 'tis opposed to Sparingly, and translated Bounti∣fully. Where the Lord does blesse, he does alwaies cause a man to Increase and Multiply.
Now beloved in the Lord, I appeal unto all your souls, you that make this Objection, that are afraid the Lord Christ hath not blest you as your High-Priest, hath not laid his hand upon you, and blest you: yet don't ye know more of Christ than ye have known before? hath not the hidden truths of the Gospel been increased and multiplied upon your hearts? hath not your hearts been brought nee∣rer to God by Affliction? hath not your souls been drawn neerer to God by his outward dealings with you? And as Abraham was therefore blest, because he was made a bles∣sing Page 92to others: So I appeal to ye, have not your Parts, Gifts, and Graces, in some measure been blessings unto others, e∣ven unto your poor Family, and unto others also? Then be of good Comfort (man or woman) where ever thou stand'st, the Lord Christ hath blest thee, and thou shalt be blessed, hold up thy head poor blessed soul, the Lord Jesus hath blest thee: when the Lord did lay this blessing upon thee, I cannot till thee, but I find thee a blessed man, stay thy self upon the Lord, cheer up thy drooping heart, thou art a blessed soul.
But you will say, [Quest.] How does this make unto our Holiness? I confess this is a very Comfortable Cordial, That the Lord Jesus Christ is in office to bless poor sinners; but how does this conduce unto our Holinesse?
Very much: [Answ.] This holds forth great incouragement, unto all poor sinners for to come to Christ, and to come without delay. Why? Once come to Christ and blessed; but without Christ and Cursed: an enemy to Jesus Christ and a Cursed man: Cursed in thy store-house: Cur∣sed in thy basket; and Cursed in all things that thou puttest thine hand unto. Oh! then, will you not come to Christ, that you may be Blessed: That day that a poor soul comes unto Christ, whatever he hath been he is blessed: that day may be called Gilgal, for then the Curse is rouled away from him. Blessed is the man whose ini∣quity is forgiven, and whose sin is pardoned. The first day, the first minute that he comes to Christ, his sin is pardoned, and he is blessed. Who would not then come unto Christ presently, that he may be blest for ever? When as Esan had sold his Birth-right for a mess of pottage, the Lord look't upon him as a Prophane man, and he stands upon record in Scripture for a Prophane man unto this day, because he sold his Birth-right. And saies the text, Though he sought the Blessing (it was a blessing) with tears, he never recovered it. The Lord Jesus Christ, he is now among us, and offering to bless us; and if I will rather keep my sins than come un∣to Jesus Christ, the Lord will look upon me as a Prophane Page 93man; and I may go and seek the blessing with tears, and never recover it again. Oh! here's that (me thinks) that should make every wicked man; if there be ever a Drun∣kard, Swearer, or Unclean wanton that reades this book, mind what is said for your Everlasting peace: I say, here's that (me thinks) that should make every wicked man, to look upon the Godly, as David did upon the sparrows, and upon the swallows: Saies David, These birds full nigh thine Altar may, have place to sit and sing: as ye have it in your singing Psalms. These birds can come and make their nests; but as for me, I am kept at a distance: He was provo∣ked by the sparrows, and swallows making their nests neer the Altar. So may a wicked man say, There's a god∣ly man indeed, he may go to Jesus Christ, he may go to Pra∣yer, and he may offer up his Gift to God the Father by the hands of Christ, he can come neer to God by Christ: But as for me, I am yet without Christ, I am not yet gone to Je∣sus Christ; I am such a cursed Swearer, I am such a pro∣phane Drunkard, I am such a vile, wretched Wanton, such a Notorious, Scandelous sinner: Oh! these people are blessed, but I am Cursed, but now through the Lords grace I will go unto the Lord Christ that I may be blessed.
Yea, My beloved, here is (me thinks) a strong Invitati∣on, unto all those that are young people for to come unto Jesus Christ: even those that are very young. Hear the word of the Lord ye Children. The Lord Jesus Christ re∣ceived Children into his armes, and he blest them. You that are nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, or fif∣teen years old; you can be solicitous for your fathers bles∣sing, and have gone down upon your knees often unto your father, and you have said, Pray father, pray to God to bless me. Oh! will ye go to your outward father for his blessing? and will ye not go unto Jesus Christ? He is an Everlasting Father, this your earthly father will be dead erelong; He is an Everlasting father (children) and he is able to bless ye, and willing to bless ye. Have ye gone Page 94down upon your knees to your outward father? Oh! chil∣dren, down, down upon your knees before the Lord Jesus Chrit, and go to him for his blssing. Some of you (it may be) never went yet to Christ for his blessing; ye have lived so many yeers, ten, eleven, or twelve yeers, and ne∣ver went to Christ as a High-Priest, for his blessing all this while: Oh! what a mighty incouragement is here unto all men to come to Christ, that they may be blessed by him.
But yet further, [unspec 2] As there is an incouragement for to come unto Christ: So this argument does also incourage us to go on in the good waies of Christ, notwithstanding all opposition that we meet withall: (I say) it does speak incouragement, to go on in the face of all opposition. For when Abraham had been at battel, then came Melchisedec the High-Priest to bless him: And when a poor soul goes out to battel for Christ, then comes our great Melchisedec, our High-Priest, and blesses that soul. The time of opposition, it is the time of Christs blessing. Therefore, why should I be dil∣couraged, or beaten out of the way of Christ, by reason of any opposition, though it be never so great? Times of op∣position are Christs blessing-time.
Again, [unspec 3] This argument, does not only speak incourage∣ment against all oppsition: But it does also incourage us to go on in the good waies of God when we are called unto it, though we have but little strength, and weak parts. Though there be but little oyle in the Cruse, though there be but little meal in the barrel, if Christ call to the work, he will bless a man in it: and when Christ blesses, he does multiply and in∣crease a mans parts in the using of them. As when he com∣manded them to sit down, and eat, he did multiply, and in∣crease the bread in their eating: So now, does Christ call me to any work or service, well then, though I am weak, though I have not oyle enough, though I have not meal e∣nough, though I have not strenght enough; yet the Lord Christ will bless, and when he blesses, he does increase and multiply: and therefore, why should I not go on upon his Page 95work, if he do call mee thereunto, though I have never so little strength.
And yet further, If all this be true: [unspec 4] Why should not a man be contented with his condition, though it be never so mean? Beloved in the Lord! is there not enough in Christs blessing? Truly, He is too covetous, whom the blessing of Christ will not satisfie. Well, what ever my condition be, yet I may be blessed by Jesus Christ; and hath the Lord blest me? then will I be contented with my Condition, though it be never so mean, I have-All, as Jacob oncesaid, I have All.
Yea in the Fift and last place: Here is that, [unspec 5] (which if wel studied and considered) will provoke us all for to bless the Lord, and continually to blesse the Lord! What is the life of a Christian here, but a continuall blessing of God? 'tis Heaven begun: and in Heaven, they do nothing else, but blesse and praise the Lord; and, I say, our life here, is Heaven begun: and therefore a Christian should be alwaies blessing and praising the Lord.
Well, But what will make a man to be alwaies Blessing, [Quest.] and Praising of God in Christ?
The knowledge that a man is blessed by Christ, [Answ.] wil make a man blesse God for Christ. And therefore consider how the Apostle reasons, in the 1. of the Ephesians, & the 3. vers. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Why? Who hath blessed ƲS. When once a man can come to this, for to say, That the Lord Christ hath blest him; then he will break forth into blessing and praising of the Lord; Oh! Blessed be the Lord: Blesse the Lord, O my soul; & blesse the Lord all that is within me: For the Lord hath blessed me with spiritual blessings. Do you therefore de∣sire to be alwaies in this work of blessing the Lord? think much of this.
To conclude al; give me leave to cal upon you, to remem∣ber what ye have read. Ye have read, That it is the work of our great High-Priest, To Satisfie for the sins of the people. To answer unto all Accusations that are brought against them: To Page 96offer up all our Prayers, and Gifts vnto God the Father: And to Bless poor souls. Now then beloved, according to all your Wants, and according to all your Temptations; I do be∣seech you in the Lord, Go to Jesus Christ, unto this High-Priest; try and see if you don't find it true, That the Lord does make good all this unto you. In case that you be un∣der any spiritual Want, or Temptation; put your souls unto this Disjunction: Come, O my soule, Either the Lord Jesus Christ is our great High-Friest; or else he is not: If he be not, what means this and that Scripture? And if the Lord Jesus Christ be our great High-Priest; then sure∣ly he being faithful, will do all the work of the High-Priest for my soul. Indeed I have sinned, and sinned greatly; but O Lord, it is the work of our High-Priest to Satisfie: Now, Lord Jesus, I come to thee as mine High-Priest, Oh! Satisfie for me. Indeed, I confesse, mine own Conscience does Accuse me, Satan does Accuse me, Moses does Accuse me: but it is the work of our great High-Priest, to take off all Accusations brought against poor beleevers: Now Lord, I do come unto thee, as to my great High-Priest, Oh! take off this Accusation that any poor soul does labour under. Indeed, when I look upon mine own Duties; there is so much deadness, so much hardness of heart, and so many distractions that do accompany them, that I am a∣fraid they will never be accepted: but, O Lord, it is the work of our great High-Priest, to take away the weeds of the Duty, and to present the Duty; now O Lord, I come unto thee as mine High-Priest, Oh! carry my Prayers into the bosom of God the Father. Yea, when I look upon my former life, Lord, I cannot but conclude my self, a poor cursed finner: but yet notwithstanding, it is the work of our great High-Priest, for to blesse the people: O Lord, I do therefore now come unto thee as mine High-Priest, Oh! blesse me, and say unto all my graces, Increase and Multiply.