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on the account of which you may the more readily be accepted. So that by this it appears that you do not seek to be accepted only on Christ's account
. And is not this to rob Christ of the glory of being your only Saviour? Yet this is the way in which you are hoping to make Christ willing to save you.
2. You can never come to Christ at all, unless you first see that he will not accept of you the more readily for any thing that you can do. You must first see, that it is utterly in vain for you to try to make yourselves better on any such account. You must see that you can never make yourselves any more worthy, or less unworthy, by any thing which you can perform.
3. If ever you truly come to Christ, you must see that there is enough in him for your pardon, though you be no better than you are. If you see not the sufficiency of Christ to pardon you, without any righteousness of your own to recommend you, you never will come so as to be accepted of him. The way to be accepted is to come—not on any such encouragement, that now you have made yourselves better, and more worthy, or not so unworthy, but-on the mere encouragement of Christ's worthiness, and God's mercy.
4. If ever you truly come to Christ, you must come to him to make you better. You must come as a patient comes to his physician, with his diseases or wounds to be cured. Spread all your wickedness before him, and do not plead your goodness; but plead your badness, and your necessity on that account: and say, as the psalmist in the text, not Pardon mine iniquity, for it is not so great as it was, but, “Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.”
THE PEACE WHICH CHRIST GIVES HIS TRUE FOLLOWERS.
Joux xiv. 27.-Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto
THESE words are a part of a most affectionate and affecting discourse that Christ had with his disciples the same evening in which he was betrayed, knowing that he was to be crucified the next day. This discourse begins with the 31st verse of the xiïith chapter, and is continued to the end of the xvith chapter. Christ began his discourse after he had partook of the passover with them, after he had instituted and administered the sacrament of the Supper, and after Judas was gone out, and none were left but his true and faithful disciples; whom he
now addresses as his dear children. This was the last discourse that ever Christ sebad with them before his death. As it was his parting discourse, and as it were
his dying discourse, so it is, on many accounts, the most remarkable of all the discourses of Christ which we have recorded in our Bibles.
It is evident this discourse made a deep impression on the minds of the disciples; and we may suppose that it did so, in a special manner, on the mind of John, the beloved disciple, whose heart was especially full of love to him, and who had just then been leaning on his bosom. In this discourse Christ had told bis dear disciples that he was going away, which filled them with sorrow and heaviness. The words of the text are some of the words which Christ said to comfort them, and to relieve their sorrow. He supports them with the promise of that peace which he would leave with them, and which they would have in him and with him, when he was gone.
This promise he delivers in three emphatical expressions, which illustrate one another. “ Peace I leave with you." As much as to say, though I am going away, yet I will not take all comfort away with me. While I have been with you, I have been your support and comfort, and you have had peace in me in the midst of the losses you have sustained, and troubles you have met with in this evil generation. This peace I will not take from you, but leave it with you with great advantage, and in more full possession.
“ My peace I give unto you.” Christ, by calling it his peace, signifies two things :
1. That it was his own, that which he had to give. It was the peculiar benefit that he had to bestow on his children; now he was about to die and leave the world as to his human presence. Silver and gold he had none : for while in his estate of humiliation he was poor. The foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests; but the Son of man had not where to lay his head, Luke ix. 58. He had no earthly estate to leave to his disciples who were, as it were, his family: but he had peace to give them.
2. It was his peace that he gave them; as it was the same kind of peace which he himself enjoyed. The same excellent and divine peace which he ever had in God, and which he was about to receive in his exalted state in a vastly greater perfection and fulness : for the happiness Christ gives to his people, is a participation of his own happiness; agreeable to what Christ says in this same dying discourse of his, chap. xv. 11, “ Thes have I said unto you, that my joy might remain in you.” And in !
he made with his
disciples at the conclusion of this discourse, chap. xvii. 13: " And now come I to thee, and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” And verse 22, “ And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them.”
Christ here alludes to men's making their wills before death. When parents are about to leave their children by death, they are wont, in their last will and testament, to give them their estate; that estate which they themselves were wont to possess and enjoy. So it was with Christ when he was about to leave the world, with respect to the peace which he gave his disciples; only with this difference, that earthly parents, when they die, though they leave the same estate to their children which they themselves heretofore enjoyed; yet, when the children come to the full possession of it, they enjoy it no more; the parents do not enjoy it with their children. The time of the full possession of parents and children is not together. Whereas with respect to Christ's peace, he did not only possess it himself before his death, when he bequeathed it to his disciples ; but also afterwards more fully ; so that they were received to possess it with him.
The third and last expression is, “not as the world giveth, give I unto you." Which is as much as to say, My gifts and legacies, now I am going to leave the world, are not like those which the rich and great men of the world are wont to leave to their heirs, when they die. They bequeath to their children their worldly possessions; and it may be, vast treasures of silver and gold, and some times an earthly kingdom. But the thing that I give you is my peace, a vastly different thing from what they are wont to give, and which cannot be obtained by all that they can bestow, or their children inherit from them.
DOCTRINE. That peace which Christ
, when he died, left as a legacy to all his true saints, is very diverse from all those things which the men of this world bequeath to their children, when they die.
I. Christ at his death made over the blessings of the new covenant to believers, as it were in a will or testament.
II. A great blessing that Christ made over to believers in this his testament was his peace.
III. This legacy of Christ is exceeding diverse from all that any of the men of this world ever leave to their children when they die.
I. Christ at his death made over the blessings of the new covenant to believers, as it were in a will or testament.
The new covenant is represented by the apostle as Christ's last will and testament. Heb. ix. 15, 16, “ And for this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” What men convey by their will or testament, is their own estate. So Christ in the new covenant conveys to believers his own inheritance, so far as they are capable of possessing and enjoying it. They have that eternal life given to them in their measure, which Christ himself possesses. They live in him, and with him, and by a participation of his life. Because he lives they live also. They inherit his kingdom; the same kingdom which the Father appointed unto him. Luke xxii. 29, “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father bath appointed unto me.” They shall reign or
his throne, Rev. fïi. 21. They have his glory given to them, John xvii. And because all things are Christ's, so in Christ all things are also the saints', 1 Cor. in. 21, 22.
Men in their wills or testaments most commonly give their estates to their children. So believers are in Scripture represented as Christ's children. Heb. ii. 13, “ Behold I, and the children which God hath given me.” Men most commonly make their wills a little before their death. So Christ did, in a very special and solemn manner, make over and confirm to his disciples the blessings of the new covenant, on the evening before the day of his crucifixion, in that discourse of which my text is a part. The promises of the new covenant were never so particularly expressed, and so solemnly given forth by Christ in all the time that he was upon earth, as in this discourse. Christ promises them mansions in his Father's house, chap. xiv. 1, 2, 3. Here he promises them whatever blessings they should need and ask in his name, chap. xv. 7, xiv. 23, 24. Here he does more solemnly and fully than anywhere else, give forth and confirm the promise of the Holy Spirit, which is ihe sum of the blessings of the covenant of grace, chap. xiv. 16, xvii. 26, xv. 25, xvi. 7. Here he promises them his own and his Father's gracious presence and favor, chap. xiv. 18, xix. 20, 21. Here he promises them peace in the text. Here he promises them his joy, chap. xv. 11. Here he promises grace to bring forth holy fruits, chap. xv. 11. And victory over the world, chap. xvi. 33. And indeed there seems to be nowhere else so full and complete an edition of the covenant of grace in the whole Bible, as in this dying discourse of Christ with his eleven true disciples.
This covenant between Christ and his children is like a will or testament also in this respect, that it becomes effectual by, and no other way than by, his death; as the apostle observes it is with a will or testament among men. For a testament is of force after men are dead, Heb. ix. 17. For though the covenant of grace indeed was of force before the death of Christ, yet it was of force no otherwise than by his death. So that his death then did virtually intervene; being already undertaken and engaged. As a man's heirs come by the legacies bequeathed to them no otherwise than by the death of the testator, so men come by the spiritual and eternal inheritance no otherwise than by the death of Christ. If it had not been for the death of Christ they never could have obtained it.
II. A great blessing that Christ, in his testament, hath bequeathed to his true followers, is his peace. Here are two things that I would observe particularly, viz., that Christ hath bequeathed to believers true peace; and then, that the peace he has given them is his peace.
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ has bequeathed true peace and comfort to his followers. Christ is called the Prince of Peace, Isa. ix. 6. And when he was born into the world, the angels, on that joyful and wonderful occasion, sang, Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace ; because of that peace which he should procure for, and bestow on the children of men ; peace with God, and peace one with another, and tranquillity and peace within themselves: which last is especially the benefit spoken of in the text. This Christ has procured for his followers, and laid a foundation for their enjoyment of, in that he has procured for them the other two, viz., peace with God, and with one another. He has procured for them peace and reconciliation with God, and his favor and friendship; in that he satisfied for their sins, and laid a foundation for the perfect removal of the guilt of sin, and the forgiveness of all their trespasses, and wrought out for them a perfect and glorious righteousness, most acceptable to
God, and sufficient to recommend them to God's full acceptance, and to the adoption of children, and to the eternal fruits of his fatherly kindness.
By these means true saints are brought into a state of freedom from con: demnation, and all the curses of the law of God. Rom. viii. 34, “ Who is he that condemneth ?” And by these means they are safe from that dreadful and eternal misery which naturally they are exposed to, and are set on high out of the reach of all their enemies, so that the gates of hell and powers of darkness can never destroy them ; nor can wicked men, though they may persecute them, ever hurt them. Rom. viii
. 31, “ If God be for us, who can be against us ?" Numb. xxiii. 8, “ How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed ?” Verse 23, “ There is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel.” By these means they are out of reach of death. John vi. 4, ix. 50, 51, “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.” By these means death with respect to them has lost its sting, and is no more worthy of the name of death. i Cor. xv. 55, “ O death, where is thy sting ?” By these means they have no need to be afraid of the day of judgment, when the heavens and earth shall be dissolved. Psal. xlvi. 1, 2, “ God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Yea, a true saint has reason to be at rest in an assurance, that nothing can separate him from the love of God, Rom. viii. 38, 39.
Thus he that is got into Christ, is in a safe refuge from every thing that Inight disturb him; for this is that man spoken of, Isa. xxxii. 2: “And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest. As rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” And hence they that dwell in Christ have that promise fulfilled to them which we have in the 18th verse of the same chapter : “ And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.”
And the true followers of Christ have not only ground of rest and peace of soul, by reason of their safety from evil, but on account of their sure title and certain enjoyment of all that good which they stand in need of, living, dying, and throughout all eternity. They are on a sure foundation for happiness, are built on a rock that can never be moved, and have a fountain that is sufficient, and can never be exhausted. The covenant is ordered in all things and sure, and God has passed his word and oath, " That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold ont he hope set before us.” The infinite Jehovah is become their God, who can do every thing for them. He is their portion who has an infinite fulness of good in himself. “He is their shield and exceeding great reward.” As great a good is made over to them as they desire, or can desire or conceive of. Yea, as great and sweet as they are capable of; and to be continued as long as they desire; and this is made as sure as they can desire: therefore they have reason to put their hearts at rest, and be at peace in their minds
Besides, he has bequeathed peace to the souls of his people, as he has procured for them and made over to them, the spirit of grace and true holiness
; which has a natural tendency to the peace and quietness of the soul. It has such a tendency as it implies a discovery and relish of a suitable and sufficient good. It brings a person into a view of divine beauty, and to a relish of that good which is a man's proper happiness; and so it brings the soul to its true centre. The soul by this means is brought to rest, and ceases from restlessly inquiring, as others do, who will show us any good, and wandering to and fro, like lost sheep, seeking rest, and finding : The soul bath found him who