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“Follow me;" and what thunder did Zaccheus hear or see?
Zaccheus, come down,” said Christ; and he came down, says Luke, and received him joyfully.
But had Peter or Zaccheus made the objection that thou hast made-looking for a heavy load of guilt, or fearful temptations of Satan—and directed the Spirit of the Lord as thou hast done, they might have looked long enough before they had found themselves coming to Jesus Christ.
Poor creature ! Thou criest, “If I were tempted, I could come faster and with more confidence to Jesus Christ.” Thou sayest thou knowest not what. What says Job? “Withdraw thy hand far from me, and let not thy dread make me afraid : then call thou, and I will answer; or let me speak, and answer thou me.”' Job 13: 21, 22. It is not the over-heavy load of sin, but the discovery of mercy-not the roaring of the devil, but the drawing of the Father, that makes a man come to Jesus Christ. I myself know all these things.
True, sometimes they that come to Jesus Christ, come the way that thou desirest--the loading, tempted way; but the Lord also leads some by the waters of comfort. If I was to choose when to go a long journey, to wit, whether I would go it in the dead of winter or in the pleasant spring—though if it was a very profitable journey, as that of coming to Christ is, I would choose to go it through fire and water before I would lose the benefit--but I say, if I might choose the time, I would choose to go in the pleasant spring, because the way would be more delightsome, the days longer and warmer, the nights shorter, and not
Trouble not thyself, coming sinner: if thou seest thy lost condition by original and actual sin ;- if thou seest thy need of the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ; if thou art willing to be found in him, and to take up thy cross and follow him, then pray for a fair wind and good weather,
and come away. Stick no longer in a muse and doubt about things, but come away to Jesus Christ.
6. Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may arise from those decays that thou findest in thy soul, even while thou art coming to him. Some, even as they are coming to Jesus Christ, do find themselves grow worse and
To explain myself: there is such a one coming to Jesus Christ, who, when he first began to look out after him, was sensible, affectionate, and broken in spirit, but now is grown dark, senseless, hard-hearted, and inclining to neglect spiritual duties. Besides, he now finds in himself inclinations to unbelief, atheism, blasphemy, and the like; now, he finds he cannot tremble at God's word, his judgments, nor the apprehension of hell-fire; neither can he, as he thinketh, be sorry for these things.
This man is in the wilderness among wild beasts. Here he sees a bear, there a lion, yonder a leopard, a wolf, a dragon. Devils of all sorts, doubts of all sorts, fears of all sorts haunt and molest his soul. This man feeleth the infirmity of his flesh; he findeth a proneness in himself to be desperate. Now he chides with God, flings and tumbles like a wild bull in a net, and still the guilt of all returns upon himself to the crushing of him to pieces. Yet he feeleth his heart so hard that he can find, as he thinks, no kindness under any of his miscarriages. Now, he is a lump of confusion in his own eyes, whose spirit and actions are without order. “Now, I see I am lost," says the sinner; “this is not coming to Jesus Christ; such a desperately hard and wretched heart as mine is, cannot be a gracious one,” saith the sinner. And bid such a one be better, he says, “I cannot; no, I cannot.”
QUESTION. But what will you say to a soul in this condition ?
Answer. I will say, that temptations have attended the best of God's people; I will say that temptations come to do us good; and I will say also, that there is a difference betwixt growing worse and worse, and thy seeing more clearly how bad thou art.
There is a man of an ill-favored countenance who hath too high a conceit of his beauty, and wanting the benefit of a glass, he still stands in his own conceit. At last a limner is sent unto him, who draweth his ill-favored face to the life. Now, looking thereon, he begins to be convinced that he is not half so handsome as he thought he was. Coming sinner, thy temptations are these painters; they have drawn out thy ill-favored heart to the life, and have set it before thine eyes, and now thou seest how illfavored thou art.
Some that are coming to Christ cannot be persuaded, until the temptation comes, that they are so vile as the scripture saith they are. True, they see so much of their wretchedness as to drive them to Christ. But there is an over and above of wickedness which they see not. Peter little thought that he had had in his heart cursing and swearing and lying, and an inclination to deny his Master, before the temptation came; but when that indeed came upon him, then he found it there to his sorrow.. It
may be that thy graces must be tried in the fire, that that rust which cleaveth to them may be taken away, and themselves proved, both before angels and devils, to be far better than gold that perisheth. It may be also, that thy graces are to receive special praises and honor and glory, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to judgment, for all the exploits that thou hast acted by them against hell and its infernal crew, in the day of thy temptation.
But to conclude this, put the worst to the worst, and then things will be bad enough : suppose that thou art to this day without the grace of God; yet thou art but a miserable creature, a sinner that has need of a blessed Saviour; and the text presents thee with one as good and kind as heart can wish, who also for thy encouragement saith, “And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.”
MERCY'S EXPERIENCE. So the Interpreter addressed him to Mercy, and said unto her, “And what moved thee to come hither, sweetheart?”
Then Mercy blushed and trembled, and for a while continued silent.
Then said he, "Be not afraid ; only believe, and speak thy inind."
Then she began, and said, “ Truly, sir, my want of experience is that which makes me covet to be in silence, and that also that filleth me with fears of coming short at last. I cannot tell of visions and dreams as my friend Christiana can, nor know I what it is to mourn for my refusing of the counsel of those that were good relations."
INTERPRETER. “What was it then, dear heart, that hath prevailed with thee to do as thou hast done ?”.
MERCY. “Why, when our friend here was packing up to be gone from our town, (the city of Destruction,) I and another went accidentally to see her. So we knocked at the door and went in. When we were within, and seeing what she was doing, we asked her what she meant. She said she was sent for to go to her husband; and then she up and told us how she had seen him in a dream, dwelling in a curious place, among immortals, wearing a crown, playing upon a harp, eating and drinking at his Prince's table, and singing praises to him for the bringing him thither. Now methought, while she was telling these things unto us, my heart burned within ma. And I said in my heart, “If this be true, I will leave my father and my mother, and the land of my nativity, ard will, if I may, go along with Christiana.'
“So I asked her further of the truth of these things, and if she would let me go with her; for I sa'w row that there was no dwelling, but with the danger of ruin, any longer in our town. But yet I came away vith a heavy
that so many
heart; not for that I was unwilling to come away, but for
And I am come with all my heart, and will, if I may; go with Christiana to her husband and his King."
INTERPRETER. “Thy setting out is good, for thou hast given credit to the truth; thou art a Ruth, who did, for, the love she bare to Naomi and to the Lord her God, leave father and mother, and the land of her nativity, to come out and go with a people that she knew not before. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou' art come to trust.'
FEARS AND ENCOURAGEMENTS OF THE AWAK.
ENED. Some men are blood-red sinners, crimson sinners, sinners of a double dye; dipped and dipped again before they come to Jesus Christ. Art thou that readest these lines such a one? Speak out, man. Art thou such a one ? and art thou now coming to Jesus Christ for the mercy of justification, that thou mightest be made white in his blood and be covered with his righteousness ? Fear not; forasmuch as this thy coming betokeneth that thou art of the number of them that the Father hath given to Christ; for he will in no wise cast thee out. “Come now,” saith Christ, “and let us reason together : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
I might tell you of the contests and battles that great sinners at their conversion are engaged in, wherein they find the besettings of Satan above any other of the saints. At which time Satan assaults the soul with darkness, fears, frightful thoughts of apparitions; now they sweat, pant, cry out, and struggle for life.
The angels now come down to behold the sight, and