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Tell his disciples, and Peter (who was deeply fallen) especially. Mark xvi. 7. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John ii. 1, 2. Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. Heb. xii. 12. HAST thou been slack, unfaithful, and fallen away? O poor soul, thou art not to make light of it; but why wilt thou continue in thy fallen condition any longer, and complain? Get thee up and ask pardon of CHRIST; he is ready to forgive and receive thee again, like Peter, "having received gifts for the rebellious." Delay not to lay hold of thy ransom, which is greater than all the sins of the world; nay, the ransom is paid for this very sin, and a pardon purchased by it already. Therefore sue it out and be not discouraged, nor listen to the temptation of giving up hope, and turning back to the world. The Lord even now reaches forth his hands to thee anew by this very word; come, lift thyself up at it, and be careful for th time to come to be so much more cautious, humble, and gentle towards others; for a Christian's foot may trip; but when recovered, it slides deeper into humility.
Salvation! O the joyful sound,
Buried in sorrow and in sin,
At hell's dark door I lay;
To see a heavenly day,
Behold, we come unto thee, Jer. iii. 22, (and) I will come unto you. John xiv. 18. À lively representation of this happy meeting. See Luke xix. 46. Zaccheus ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore-tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And Christ said unto him, Make haste and come down, for today I must abide at thy house.
O MY dear Saviour, since I come to thee, and thou to me, we shall certainly meet one another. Who will oppose and obstruct it? The devil and sin? Oh no! this wall of separation is pulled down. CHRIST says, "Come unto me; I am not an angry judge, but a loving Mediator between God and thy frightened conscience: keep to me, and fear no wrath. I sit here, that, believing in me to make intercession for thee with God, no wrath or disgrace can befall thee. Should wrath and punishment come upon thee, it must first come upon me: wrath is quite impossible." Yes, O my soul, it is indeed impossible; for thy Jesus is the dear Son of God, in whom dwells all the fulness of grace, and the Father, looking upon him, his wrath must vanish away, and everything in heaven and earth be changed into smiles of love and grace. Eph. i. 6. Dangers and conflicts being hot, God hastens with his assistance. At other times he tarries, and the work of our whole renovation goes on by little and little, that, improving in the exercise of patience and faith, we may also bear with others, and learn not only to quicken our diligence, but also to wait for him.
In thine own ways, O God of love,
And the remembrance of thy face.
Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. Ps, xxxviii. 4. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. xi. 28.
It is a sure sign that a man is awakened out of his sleep, when he discovers the error of his dream. In the drawing up of water out of a deep well, so long as the bucket is under water, we feel not the weight of it; but as soon as it comes above water, it begins to hang heavy on the hand. When a man dives under water, he feels no weight of the water, though there may be many tons of it over his head; whereas a tub half full of the same water, taken out of the river, and set upon the same man's head, would be very burdensome to him, and make him soon grow weary of it. In like manner, so long as a man is over head in sin, he is not sensible of the weight of sin, it is not troublesome to him; but when he begins once to come out of that state of sin wherein he lay and lived before, then beginneth sin to hang heavy upon him, and he groans under the weight thereof. So long as sin is in the will, in the will, the proper seat of sin, a man feels not the weight of it, but, like a fool, it is sport and pastime to him to do evil. It is therefore a good sign that sin is removed out of its seat, out of its chair of state, when it becomes burdensome to us; and such a sense of sin may well be considered as an entrance into a state of grace. Give me, O Lord, a true sense of my sin, and an apprehension of the mercy of God in CHRIST, and ability to embrace hiin as my Redeemer and Saviour.
Give me, O Lord, the broken heart,
Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Jer. iii. 22. When he was yet a great way off, his father san him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him; and said, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, &c. Luke xv. 20—23. HEAR, therefore, the voice of thy loving Father and Shepherd, O thou backsliding child and lost sheep, crying earnestly, Return, return! Do not run on in the broad way with the world any longAre you not tired yet of the husks of the world? Do you feel no troubles in your soul? Shall not these drive thee to God? Lo! thy Father and Shepherd seeks thee. He is gone forth to call and meet thee already. He will receive thee willingly and joyfully. Come, only praying as the prodigal son, and he will freely forgive thee all, though thou hadst sinned ever so much. He is also able to heal and correct the most desperate corruptions of thy heart, he can deliver thee from the very jaws of hell and the devil; nay if thou even wast possessed with more than seven devils, he can still cast them out. Begin to call upon him earnestly in prayer, and, poor and wretched as thou art, come to him as the physician of thy soul; for the physician and the sick, a rich Saviour and a poor sinner, are the best suited to one another. He healeth all our diseases, and can make possible what seems most impossible to thee.
Come, all ye vilest sinners, come,
Watch ye therefore, and pray always. Luke xxi. 36. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us. Heb. xii. 1. Watch, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Matt. xxiv. 42. Take ye heed, watch and pray. Mark xiii. 33.
THE hearts of men are not like unto clocks, which only want to be wound up once a day; O no! the dulness and distraction is too great and dangerous. We must lift them up many times a-day; yea, watch continually to lay aside every weight. Our going out and coming in, nay, all things, even the very least, we must do with prayer, always strictly examining what is the will of the Lord; else, if they are done after our own will, they do not tend to the glory of God, and cannot be attended with his blessing. But if we earnestly strive against our own will in prayer, patiently suffering every hour what the Lord thinks proper to lay upon us, and will be ruled by his hints and slight strokes of his rod, many heavy afflictions and scourges, and whips may be avoided; for the burdens which we bring upon ourselves, by our own will and impatience, are always the heaviest. A Christian has daily his proper burden, like a clock its weights, by which the flesh is kept under, so that the spirit can rise up; therefore when anything comes cross, he looks upon it as his weight for the day, to stir him up to the exercise of prayer and meditation in the word of God. O Lord, grant that I may always bear thy easy yoke, and never be the cause of my own distress and dulness!
Wait on the Lord, ye trembling saints,
And far exceed your hope.