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thou shalt bave no pity, no sparing, but judgment without merey. This is just jndgment. Ah! who is able to abide this?
“ Who can dwell with the devouring fire ? It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
But Christ satisfied this too. So God spared him not, Rom, viii. 32. Though his body was of a most refined temperature, and so his senses most exquisite, his death was a most tormenting death. And in his death he was denied what benefits are not refused to malefactors. His eyes were denied the light of the sun, his ears were grated with mockers and cruel insults. He got vinegar to drink, mingled with gall. He was in travailing pangs, soul-travail; he had no help in it, and he died in it.
4th Demand. Thy sufferings, 0 sinner, must be infinite. It is just judgment, for it is infinite justice thou hast offended. Ah! who is able to abide this? This is killing, saddest of all, a thousand times. Universal, exquisite, yet infinite ! “ Who can dwell with everlasting burnings ?" It is the hell of hell, and must fill a finite being brimfull of despair.
But Christ answers this too. He was God, and therefore infinite; so his sufferings, though not infinite in duration, yet were so in value. And what the creature could not have borne but by piecemeal without end, he bears altogether.
Last Demand. Thy sufferings must be voluntary ; God hates robbery for burnt-offering, Lev. i. 3. If thou at all murmur under all thy sufferings, it will be new sin, and mar the acceptance of the sacrifice, for which just judgment will repeat its demands. Ah! what man can perform this? The weight of wrath makes the devils and damned to roar. The man cannot bear a fit of the gout or gravel, nay, nor a stitch in his side, but he is in hazard of impatience.
Christ satisfies this too, Isa. liii. 7, “ He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” In all his sufferings he never had the least wrong or unbecoming thought of God, Psalm xxii, 1, 2, 3. Never the least murmuring. He willingly underwent what he was to suffer. When his hour came, though he was able to have rescued himself, he would not. He meekly prays for his murderers, even when he was in his extremity, Luke xxiii. 31. Thus the demand of judgment is satisfied.
And thus were the foundations of justice and judgment laid, for the throne of grace to stand on. And on these it was erected, ard stands for the behoof of poor sinners.
USE 1. O sinners, come to God, through Jesus Christ; and while
God is on a throne of grace to you, settle your business for eterpity at this throne.
First, What is your business at the throne of grace?
1st, More generally, your great and comprehensive business at the throne is, to get God to be your God by a special covenant relation. Sinners, do not ye know ye have lost God ? that
without God in the world”? Eph. ii. 12. Sin has dissolved all saving relation betwixt God and Adam's lost posterity: and his wrath abides on the rebels and traitors, while in that state, John iii. ult. But hear good news from a throne of grace to you, who stand condemned at the bar of justice, Heb. viii. 10, “ This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord ;-I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Isa. lv. 3, “Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” And if ye had that secured, your business for eternity is secured.
Quest. How shall we manage that business at the throne ?
1. Believe with application to yourselves, that this covenant is ofl'ered to you from the throne. You have the Lord's word for it carrying the offer of it to all to whom the gospel comes, Isa. lv. 1-3." Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk withiout money, and without price. Wherefore do yo spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not ? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness," &c. If you had a voice from heaven calling, and offering it to you by name, would ye not believe it? Ye have a more sure word of prophecy, which reaches you among whomsoever you rank yourselves, Rev. iii. 20, “ Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and
open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." And chap. xxii. 17, “ Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” If ye do not believe it thus, in greater or lesser measure, ye cannot accept of the covenant, and so ye perish without remedy.
OBJECT. But how can I believe that ever God will be my God, who am such a monstrous vile sinner? Answ. Look to the foundations of the throne, and you will see a perfect righteousness, and a complete satisfaction for the sins of all, that will take the benefit of the throne of grace erected thereon. This truth is written in characters of the precious blood of the Son of God, the which, to what purpose was it shed, if it could not secure the business of any poor sioner at the
throne ? 1 John i. 7, " The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth as from all sin."
2. Consent sincerely and honestly to the covenant, and your business is done, according to that, Isa. xliv. 5, “ One shall say, I am the Lord's : and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob : and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and sirname himself by the name of Israel.” Let your souls and hearts open this day to the offer, and consent that from henceforth God shall be your God in Christ, and ye shall be his. And if ye be sincere in taking him for your God, you will let your other gods go : the devil, the world, any lust and idol, whatever fondness ye have had for it, shall be no more your god; but cast it to the bats, and to the moles. You will consent to be his only, wholly, and for ever, to take part with him and his people, for better and worse.
2dly, More particularly, it is to get supply to all your wants, in that God through Christ. Hence says the apostle, Heb. iv. 16, “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Here is the place of supply; and think not strange of that, for here is the price of all our mercies, the obedience and death of Christ. It is your business to get,
1. Pardon and peace with God, Rom. v. 1. Weighty business that can be done no where else. Every where else, but at the throne of grace, you will meet the flaming sword staying you off from pardon and peace. Unpardoned sin will be a sinking weight to your soul; want of the peace of God will hide
from your eyes for ever; if once they are opened, come then, and ply your business.
2. The sanctifying Spirit, and his grace, to make you holy, Luke xi. 13. Without holiness no happiness, Heb. xii. 14; without the Spirit no holiness, 2 Thess. ii. 13. And as the fire that burnt the incense was fetched from the altar of burnt-offering ; so the Spirit comes to us from a crucified Christ.
3. Right to heaven, and eternal life, that you may be happy in another world, 2 Cor. v. 1. This is business absolutely necessary; leave it not till ye be a-dying ; do it now, and it will be a death-bed comfort to you, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
Lastly, A settled communication betwixt the Lord and you, that yo may have recourse to in all the exigencies of your life, Eph. ii. 18; 1 John i. 3. Ye have an ill world to go through : ye will need both for life and godliness; and here ye are to make the settlement for both. Ye may come to see sad days of public calamity, wherein they that cannot draw comfort from heaven, must want it for altogether. Settle the communication for that.
Secondly, Motives to press this.
1. God is on a throne of grace to transact with you in this place; for there the throne is wherever gospel-ordinances are set up, Jer. ii. 17. He has trysted once more with you here. What shall be the issue; shall the business betwist Heaven and you now be brought to a period ? If not, ye will give a new slight to the enthroned King; and what will be the end of that?
2. It cost the Redeemer his precious blood to erect this throne. If he had not died, we should have had no throne of grace to come to more than devils have. O slight not the glorious and costly erection.
3. Your business at the throne is most weighty, and necessary. It is soul-business; business for eternity; business that can be done no where else. If it be slighted or mismanaged here, it is gone; and if so, nothing can make up the loss, Matth. xvi. 26, “ For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?"
Lastly, It is a moveable throne ; see the text. It will not stand always for you. It has stood in some places, where now it is no more ; but the sometimes churches are unchurched. However, at death, ye will have no more access to it, if slighted now. And how soon the Lord may remove it, ye know not.
USE 2. O Christians, communicants, ye have heard your business, that is your business specially at a communion table. Learn bere your communion-frame, and fetch it from a view of the throne.
1. Come believingly, and with expectation of good at the Lord's hand. Faith has here the most firm foundation ; justice and judg. ment executed against sin, in the person of Christ the Mediator. Has he answered all the demands? Then are the children free; free from wrath, free to the benefits of his purchase.
2. Come with the repenting, broken, bleeding hearts for sin, and filled with hatred of it. See what Christ suffered for your sins, and see the malignant nature of it.
3. Come with love, remembering his love more than wine. Behold how the Redeemer purchased the throne for you with his precious blood; and when none in heaven nor earth was to prevent your ruin, he stepped in.
Lastly, Come with thankfulness for, and admiration of, the glorious work of redemption. Behold justice satisfied, truth preserved inviolate ; yet mercy and free love magnified, by wisdom finding out
EVIDENCES AND CAUSES
DECAY OF RELIGION IN THE SOUL
AND THE METHOD OF ITS CURE PRESCRIBED.
Two sermons preached at Morebattle, at the celebration of the Lord's supper there.
The first upon Sabbath, July 19, 1719.
Rev. iii. 2,
Whoso looks on the face of the generation this day, in respect of religion, may behold a lamentable decay in spirituals therein. Great things has God done for us again and again, not only of old, but of late : but alas ! amidst all our repeated deliverances, we are like to pine away under spiritual plagues. O that on such solemn occasions we were stirred up to “ strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die."
This is a direction given to the church of Sardis, which had a name to live, and yet was dead. A church which had as much as made those about her to reckon her in a good condition; but God knew, and themselves might know, they were far from it; death had got up into their windows, and was making havock of the spiritual case of all sorts. The directions for a recovery in this verse are two. (1.) Be watchful. Carelessness had ruined all with them; they are called to bestir themselves to habitual watchfulness. (2.) “Strengthen the things which reinain, that are ready to die.” la which you may notice two things.
1. The decaying and declining condition of this church. "The things which remain, that were ready to die.” In which two things are to be observed,