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in a little they rose up and thrust him out of the city, verse 29. Again, when the voice of Christ is dit cerned in the offer by the convinced finner; then the finner is ready to conclude, that it is to others, but not to him. Unbelief faith, but our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts, Ezek. xxxvii. ir. They cannot believe, that fo good news from heaven concerns them, or that such a good word is directed unto them.
And thus men not believing God in' the record given of his Son, that he is with all his falvation offered to them, do make him a lyar, 1 John v. 10.,
But where faving faith is a working, the word of the gospel offer is, by the holy Spirit, applied to the foul in particular with power, as the word of the Lord himself, and not of men; whereby the man is assured, that it is the voice of Christ, and to him in particular : whereupon he applies it to himself by believing: 1 Thess. i. 5. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Chap. ii. 13. The word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. This is altogether neceffary; infomuch that without it there can be no receiving of Christ, forasinych as otherways the foul can see no folid ground and foundation of faith for itself: for it is evident, there can be no receiving aright, where the finner doth not believe the offer to be to him in par. ticular. And here begins the application of faith, an application tending to union with Christ,
Wherefore, if you would unite with Christ, and so enter into the covenant of grace, list yourselves before the Lord as condemned finners, under the curfe of the law; and hear and believe the word of his gospel, as directed to you condemned and cursed finners in particular. So it will come unto you, as
the rising fun to one sitting in darkness, and in the shadow of death ; or as the offer of a pardon, to one under sentence of death. And let not your
heart misgive you by unbelief; but firmly believe the offer to be made by Christ himself unto you, as it is in very deed, Ifa. lv. 3. Hear, and your foul Mall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
But here it is necessary to remove the following objections.
Object. 1. But Christ is now in heaven, and I hear no voice from thence : how then can I believe that he himself is offering himself to me ? Ans. Though Chrif is in heaven, yet he is speaking from heaven to us ; howbeit not by a voice sounding thro' the clouds, yet by a voice sounding in the go. fpel : Heb. xii. 25. See that ye refuse not him that Speaketh-that speaketh from heaven. And not only is his voice in the word of the gospel, but he himself by his spirit is in it, as the Apostle teacheth. Rom. X. 6, 7, 8, Thence it is, that it is a quickening, word to dead souls : John vi. 63. The words that I Speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. It
is the lively seed, whereof the new creature is formed, 1 Pet. i. 23. Jesus Christ did once by à voice sounding thro' the clouds, speak a word of convic. tion, Acts ix. 4, 5. But even in that case the word of the offer of himself was remitted to the preaching of the gospel by a messenger thereto appointed, ver. 6. And the voice of Christ founding in his writ. ten word, is more sure than a voice founding thro' the clouds, 2 Pet. i. 18, 19. This voice in the word is the stated ground of faith, with which faith must clofe for salvation ; Rom. i. 16. The gospel of Chrift: it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth. Ver. 17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. And there is no true saving faith, where it is not received as the very voice of the Lord himself, 1 Theff. ij. 13. ThereU 3
fore you must receive the word of the gospel, as the word of Christ himself, as in very deed it is.
OBJECT. 2. But Christ in the word of the gospel doth not name me: how then can I believe that he offereth himself, his righteousness and salvation, to me in particular ? Ans. Neither doth he name you in the word or the law, whether in the commands thereof, or in the curse thereof. How do you come to believe that you are a sinner? Is it not, that, the commands of the law being directed to all men, you conclude and believe, that, you being of the number of mankind, they are therefore directed to you in particular, as well as to others? And how come you to believe that you in particular are under the curse of the broken Jaw? Is it not, that, since the law denounceth its curse against every one that, being under it, breaks it, Gal. iii. 10. Rom. iii. 19. you do conclude and believe, that it curseth you, for. asmuch as you are one of these breakers thereof? Now you have as sufficient ground to believe that the offer of the gospel is to you in particular ; forafmuch as it is made to all, without exception, unto whom the gospel comes, Rev. xxii. 17. Ifa. lv. I, It is ordered to be made to every creature under heaven, Mark xvi. 15: and how finful foever you are, you are one of these creatures. Christ's voice is unto men, fons of men : and be what you will, you are one of mankind sinners; and therefore the offer is to you in particular, Prov. viii. 4. Accordingly, we are warranted to apply the general offer to every coe in particular; and every one is warranted to apply it to himself: Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,
OBJECT. 3: But alas ! I fear I want the qualifications determinative of those to whom the gospeloffer is particularly directed. I dread that I have not as yet got a due sense of sin: and our Lord says, expresly, They that be whole need not a physician,
but they that are fick. I am not come to call the righteous, but finners to repentance, Matth. xi. 12, 13. The gospel offer runs in these terms, Ho, every one that thirsleth, come, Isa.lv. 1. Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, Matth. xi.
28. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely, Rev. xxii. 17, But when I view my own condition, I very much fear I have not as yet reached that thirst after Christ, and that willingness to take him, which these texts speak of; and that I cannot be accounted one truly labouring and heavy laden': how then can I believe that Christ offers himself to me in particular ? Ans. It is most certain truth, that, unless you have a due fenfe, of fin, unless you thirst after Christ and his righteousness, unless you be heavy laden with the felt burden of sin, 'and willing to take Christ upon any terms, you will never take him by a true faith. Nevertheless, whatever qualifications you have, or have not, yet if you are a finner of Adam's race, (and I hope you doubt not that), Christ is offered to you, together with his righteousness, and all his salvation, Prov. viii. 4. John iii. 16. Mark xvi. 15. For howbeit there are indeed certain qualifications necessary to move you to take Christ; yet there are none at all to hamper the gospel offer: but Christ is really offered to you, be in what case you will; fo really, that if you do not believe it, and thereupon receive an offered Saviour, you will be damned for not believing, Mark xvi. 16.
It is undeniable, the less that sinners are sensible of their fins, they are the farther from righteousness; they do the more need Christ, and are the more to be called to repentance. This is evident from the whole tenor of the holy fcripture, and from the very nature of the thing. And therefore it is finners in the general, and not sensible finners only, who are meant, Matth. ix. 12, 13. Even as it is fick people
in general, comprehending even those of them who are so delirious, as to think nothing ails them, that need a physician ; and not those sick only, who are sensible of their-state and hazard. This is the plain literal sense of that passage, from which there is no necessity to depart: and the departing from it is attended with a manifest inconvenience.
Neither is the thirst mentioned Ifa. ly. I, to be reftricted to a gracious thirst, a thirst after Christ and his righteousness. For some at least of the thirsting ones, to whom the offer is there made, are spending money for ihat which is not bread, and their labour for that which fatisfieth not, verfe 1, 2. But it is evident, that finners duly sensible, who are thirsting after Christ and his righteousness, are not spending their money and labour at that rate; but, on the contrary, for that which alone is bread, and satisfieth, namely, Jesus Christ the true bread which came down from heaven. Wherefore the thirst there meant, must needs comprehend, yea, and principally aim at, that thirst after happiness and fatisfaction, which being natural, is common to all mankind. Men pained with this thirst do naturally run, for. quenching thereof, to the empty creation, and their fulsome lusts: and so they spend money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which fatis fieth not; finding nothing there that can satisfy that their appetite or thirst. Now, to men in this wretched case is the gospel offer of the waters of life made : Christ is offered unto them, as bread, fatness, what is good, and will satisfy that their painful thirst, which ctherways will never be quenched, ibid.
And as little is the solemn gospel offer, Matth. ix. 28. restricted to a certain set of men endued with fome laudable, qualifications, going under the name of labouring and being heavy lades; the which do indeed denote the restlessness natural to the finful soul of man, spending its labours for that which fatisfieth