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no heart should be able to relift such motives, and rational persuasions, as these following will be found to be.
Motive 1. You are in extream need of Christ, you want him more than bread, or breath; many things are convenient for your bodies, but Christ is the one thing necessary for your souls. Luke x. 9. “One thing is neceffary.". Necessity is an engine that will open any thing in the world that can be opened ; neceflity will make all fly before it. Now there is a plain, present, absolute necessity lying upon every one of you to open your hearts to Christ, and that without delay Necessity goes before the face of Christ, to open the way for him into the heart; thou must have him, or be loft for ever. Christ and faith are not among the may bees, but the must bees, to the happiness of thy soul. A man may be poor, and happy; reproached, and blefied; but he cannot be christless, and safe ; nor christless and comfortable : you must have Chrift, or you cannot have life, John iii. 36. you must have Chrift, or you can have no hope, Col. i. 27. Christ and life, Christ and hope, go together : No Christ, no life; no Christ, na hope : Sinner, thou must have Christ, or thou canst have no pardon ; for Christ and pardon are undivided, Eph. i. 7. In a word, you must have Christ, or you can have no falvation, Acts iv. 12. Well, then, if thou canst have no life nor hope, no pardon nor salvation without Christ; then a plain necessity goes before Christ, to open his way into thine heart: methinks, thou shouldst now say, then will I open to Chrift whatever the terms be. Come sufferings, loffes, reproaches, yea, death itself, all is one; Christ I must have, and Chrift I will have ; necessity is laid upon me, and my heart is open: ed to Christ by it: woe to me for ever if I miss of Christ.
Motive 2. The Lord Jesus is this day come nigh to every one of your fouls. I may say to you as Christ did to them, Luke x: 9. “The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." The Lord grant he be not as nigh to some of you as ever he shall be; for he must come nearer, or else you are loft for ever. It is not Christ among you in the means of grace, but Christ withi in you by the work of grace, which must be unto you the hope of glory, Col. i. 27. He is not only among you in respect of external means, but he is come into your understandings and consciences ; yea, fome motions of his you may feel upon your affections, there wants but a little more to make you ex ternally happy. O what would one effectual touch upon your wills be worth now! the head-work is done, but o that the heart-work were done too. You are almost saved, but to be
almost saved, is to be wholly, and eternally lost, if it go no further. It is a fad thing for a nian that hath one foot in hea. yen to slide from thence into hell; it is sad to be shipwrecked at the harbour's mouth.
Motive 3. Jesus Christ hath unquestionable right to enter into, and poffefs every one of your souls : Satan is but an u. surper: Christ is your lawful owner and proprietor ; thy soul, finner, hath not fo full a title to thy body, as Christ hath to thy foul : Satan keeps Christ out of his right. Christ knocks at the door of his own house ; he built it, and therefore may well claim admission into it; it is his own creature. Col. 1. 16 “ By him were all things made, whether they be visible, or in. “ visible;" bodies or fouls. The invisible part, thy soul, is his workmanship, a stately structure of his own railing. He hath also a right by redemption, Christ hath bought thy foul, and that at the invaluable price of his own blood. Who then can dispute the right of Christ to enter into his own house? But alas ! he cometh to his own, but his own receive him not.
Motive 4. Open the door to Chrift, for a train of blessings and mercies come in with him; a troop of privileges follow him. In the same day and hour that Christ comes into thine heart, by a full consent and deliberate choice, a pardon comes with him of all the sins that ever thou committedit in thought, word, or action. Will such a pardon be welcome to thy soul Then let Christ be welcome, Eph.i. 7, for where Christ comes, pardon comes. If you open to Christ, you open to peace, and who would shut the door of his foul against peace? If peace be welcome, let Christ be welcome; for peace follows faith in Christ, Rom. v. 1. Where Christ cones, liberty comes, John viii. 36. “ If the Son therefore make you free, then are you « free indeed.” Are you in love with bonds and fetters ? Satan's laws are written in blood. Christ's yoke is eafy, and his commands not grievous. If you love liberty, love Christ. In a word, where Christ comes, salvation comes; “ for he is the “ author of eternal falvation to all them that obey him.” If therefore you love pardon, peace, liberty, and falvation, shut pot the door against Christ; for all these follow him wherever
Mative 5. Christ this day folemnly demands entrance into thy soul; he begs thee to open to him, 2 Cor. v. 20. he commands thee to open unto him, 1 John iii. 23. He denounceth eternal damnation to those that refuse him entrance. Now consider well, here is entrance demanded under pain of the eternal wrath of God: This demand is filled and recorded in heaven; at your own peril be it if you shut the door againlt him: Only thus will I say in my Redeemer's behalf, if you refuse, bear witness, heaven and earth this day, that Chrift folemnly demanded entrance into thy foul, and was refused; bear witness, that the door was shut against the only Redeemer, who intreated, commanded, and threatned eternal damnation to the rejectors of him. Oh, methinks, that scripture, Prov. i. 24, 25. is able to strike terror into the very center of that foul that refuses the offers of Chrift!
Motive 6. And so I have done my mafter's errand ; if you now refuse the knock of Christ at your hearts, he may never knock more; and where are you then? There is a knock which will be the last knock, a call which will be his last call; and after that no more knocks or calls, but an eternal filence as to .any overture of mercy or grace.
Object. 1. But if I de open to Christ, he will never come in to such a filtby polluted finful soul as mine is.
Axfw. Who saith so? Who dare affirm so impudent a falfehood in the
face of the text? “ If any man open to me, I « will conie in to him."
Object. 2. If I open to Christ, I must bid farewel to ease and rest in this world; reproaches, sufferings, losses follow him.
Answ. If Christ, pardon, and salvation, be not worth the enduring and suffering these small things, sure thou yalueft Christ and thy soul at a low rate. O who can sufficientdy bewail the ignorance, and folly of unbelievers, that will fell their souls and hopes of heaven for such trifles! And if Christ and thy soul inust part upon these terms, then hear me, (inner, and let it sink into thine heart; thy damnation will be both,
1. Juft and righteous.
2. Unavoidable and fure. 1. Thy damnation will be juft; for thou hadft thy own choice, and deliberately preferredst the insignificant trifles of this world before Christ and falvation. It was plainly told thee what the issue of thy rejecting Christ would be ; and yet, after sufficient warning, thou adventuredft upon it: Whatever other finners will plead, I know not, but as for thee thou must be speechless, Matth. xxii. 12. If thou die christless, thou must appear at his bar speechless; and the day of judgment will be the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Rom. ii. 5.
2. It will also be unavoidable, for there is no other way to salvation but this, Acts iv. 12. No Christ, no heaven ; no faith,
so Christ: “ How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a fal « vation ?" Heb. ii. 3. Mercy itself cannot save thee out of Christ, for all the saving mercy of God is dispensed to men through him, Jude 21. It is to no purpose to cry mercy, Lord, mercy! when Chrift, in whom all the mercies of God are dif pensed to men, is rejected by thee.
HI. Ufe, for confolation. This point winds up in consolation to all fuck, as, hearing the knocks of Christ, have opened, or are now resolved to open their hearts unto him ; and that nothing henceforth fhall keep Christ and their souls asunder : To such I shall address the following grounds of comfort.
Confolation 1. An opening heart to Christ is a work wholly and altogether supernatural, a special work of the spirit of God, never found upon any but an elect foul. There are common gifts of the spirit, such as knowledge,
vanishing convictions, &c. but the opening of the heart by faith is the fpecial, saving, and peculiar work
of the fpirit, John vi. 29. « This " is the work of God, that ye believe.” Yea, it is the effect of the Almighty power of God, the exceeding greatness of his power is exerted in the work of faith, Eph. i. 19. It rises not out of nature, as comimon gifts do; but of this it is exprefly faid, Eph. ii. 8. “ It is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Where this work is effectually wrought, we may reason so folidly, as comfortably from it, both backward, to the electing love of God, and forward, to our eternal glorification with him, Rom. viii. 30.
Confolat. 2. The opening of thy heart to Chrift by saving faith, gives thee interest in Christ the very fame hour; the relation is then conftituted, the conjugal tie or bond is fastned betwixt him and thy foul; John i. 12. “ To as many as received him, to them gave he power, (viz. right or priviledge)
, to become “ the Sons of God, even to as many as believed on his name.?" You neither need, nør may expect an extraordinary messenger or voice from heaven to tell you that Christ is yoursi
you are his; you have a better foundation in this word and work of faith : For my part, if God will give me the clear and satisfying experience of this work upon my heart, I would never desire more fatisfaction on this side heaven. I know not but the devil may counterfeit an extraordinary voice, and cheat the fou! by a lying oracle ; but if I really feel my heart and will fincerely opening to Chrift upon gospel-terms, I am sure there is no deceit in that.
Confolat. 3. The opening of thy heart to Christ by faith, is
a good assurance that heaven shall be opened to thy soul keres after : Heaven is shut against none but those that shut their heart against Christ by unbelief. Will you bar Christ out of your souls by ignorance, and unbelief, and then cry, Lord, O pen to us ? No, God will open to none but them that open to Christ. Eternity itself shall but fuffice to bless God for this opening act of faith : -- He that believeth shall be saved,” Mark xvi. 16.
Confolat. 4. The opening of thy foul to Chrift by faith, makes it Christ's habitation for ever ; in that hour out goes fin and Satan, and in comes Christ and
grace : any man open unto me, I will come in to him," saith the text. Of such a soul Christ faith, as it was said of the temple, Pfal. cxxxii. 13, 14. " The Lord hath desired it for his habitation. This is
reft 66. for ever ; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.” The foul now becomes an hallowed temple to the Lord : as he hath faid, " I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and will be * their God, and they shall be my people,” 2 Cor. vi. 16. O what a heaven upon earth is here! Christ dwelling in the soul, as the glory of the soul ; as God's dwelling in the temple was the glory of the temple.
"Confolat. 5. In a word, the opening of the heart to Christ is that work which answers the great design of the gospel. Wherefore hath God set up ordinances and minifters, yea, wherefore is the Spirit fent forth, but to open the hearts of finners to Chrift by faith? When this is done, the main end and intention of the gospel is attained and answered; the union is effected betwixt Christ and the foul; it is now puto
out of hazard. The whole work of the gospel, after that, is but to build up, confirm, and comfort the soul; ripen its implanted graces, and make it meet for glory.
And thus, through the assistance of the Spirit, I have finished the fifth observation, That every conviction of conscience, and motion upon the affections, is a knock or call of Christ for entrance into the finner's heart.