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when he can find none; an effectual plaifter, applied to heal our wound, when his own must bleed to eternity: And he obtains his end fully, if he can but keep off fouls from Christ. Look, therefore, upon all those objections, and difcouragements, raised in your hearts against coming to Christ, as so many artifices, and cunning devices of the devil, to destroy and ruin your fouls. 'Tis true, they have a very fpecious and colour
appearance; they are gilded over with pretences of the Juftice of God, the heinous nature of fin, the want of due and befitting qualifications for fo holy and pure a God, the lapsing of the feafon of mercy, and an hundred others, of like nature: but, I beseech you, lay down this as a fure conclufion, and hold it fast; that whatever it be that discourages and hinders you from coming to Chrift, is directly against the interest of your fouls, and the hand of the devil is certainly in it.
Infer. 2. Hence, alfo, it follows, that unbelief is the true reafon of all that difquietness, and trouble, by which the minds of poor finners are fo rack'd and tortur'd.
If you will not believe, you cannot be established; till you come to Christ, peace cannot come to you: Christ and peace are undivided. Good fouls, consider this; you have tried all other ways, you have tried duties, and no rest comes; you have tried reformation, restitution, and a stricter course of life; yet your wounds are still open, and fresh bleeding: these things, I grant, are, in their places, both good, and neceffary; but, of themselves, without Chrift, utterly infufficient to give what you expect from them: why will you not try the way of faith? Why will you not carry your burthen to Christ? O! that you would be perfuaded to it, how foon would you find, what fo long you have been seeking in vain! How long will you thus oppose your own good? How long will you keep yourselves upon the rack of confcience? Is it eafy to go under the throbs and wounds of an accufing and condemning confcience; You know it is not you look for peace, but no good comes; for a time of healing, and behold trouble. Alas! it muft, and will be so, ftill, until you are in the way of faith, which is the true and only method to obtain rest.
Infer. 3. What caufe have we all to admire the goodness of God, in providing for us a Chrift, in whom we may find reft to our fouls!
How hath the Lord filled and furnished Jefus Chrift with all that is fuitable to a believer's wants! Doth the guilt of fin terrify his confcience? Lo, in him is perfect righteousness, to remove that guilt, fo that it shall neither be imputed to his
fon, nor reflected by his confcience, in the way of condemnation, as it was before. In him, alfo, is a fountain opened, for washing and for cleansing the filth of fin from our fouls; in him is the fulness both of merit, and of Spirit, two fweet springs of peace to the fouls of men: well might the apostle fay, "Christ, "the wifdom of God," 1 Cor. i. 30. and well might the Church fay, "He is altogether lovely," Cant. v. 16. Had not God provided Jefus Chrift for us, we had never known one hour's reft to all eternity.
Iafer. 4. How unreasonable, and wholly inexcufable, in believers, is the fin of backfliding from Chrift! Have you found rest in him, when you could not find it in any other! Did he receive, and ease your fouls, when all other perfons and things were phyficians of no value? And will you, after this, backflide from him again? O what madness is this! "Will a mán "leave the fnow of Lebanon, which cometh from the rock of "the field? Or fhall the cold, flowing waters, that come from "another place, be forfaken?" No man, that is in his wits, would leave the pure, cold, refreshing stream, of a crystal fountain, to go to a filthy puddle, lake, or an empty ciftern; fuch the best enjoyments of this world are, in comparison with Jefus Christ.
That was a melting expoftulation of Chrift's with the difciples, John vi. 67, 68. when some had forfaken him, "will ye, also,
go away?" And it was a very fuitable return, they made, Lord, whither away from thee fhould we go! q. d. From thee, Lord! No, no; where can we mend ourselves? be fure of it, when ever you go from Chrift, ye go from reft to trouble. Had Judas reft? Had Spira reft? and do you think you shall have reft? No, no, "The backflider in heart fhall be filled with his own ways," Prov. xiv. 14. "Curfed be the man that depart"eth from him, he shall be as the heath in the defart, that "feeth not when good cometh, and fhall inhabit the parched "places of the wilderness," Jer. xvii. 5. If fear of fufferings, and worldly temptations, ever draw you off from Chrift, you may come to those ftraits, and terrors of confcience, that will make you wish yourselves back again with Chrift in a prison, with Christ at a stake.
Infer. 5. Let all that come to Chrift, learn to improve him, to the reft and peace of their own fouls, in the midst of all the troubles, and outward diftreffes, they meet with in the world.
Surely rest may be found in Chrift, in any condition; he is able to give you peace in the midst of all your troubles here. So he tells you in John xvi. 33, "These things have I spoken to
SERM. X. "you, that in me you might have peace; in the world ye shall "have tribulation." By peace, he means not a deliverance from troubles, by taking off affliction from them, or taking them away, by death, from all afflictions; but it is fomething they enjoy from Chrift, in the very midst of troubles, and amidit all their afflictions, that quiets, and gives them reft, fo that troubles cannot hurt them. Certainly, believers, you have peace in Christ, when there is little in your own hearts; and your hearts might be filled with peace, too, if you would exercise faith upon Chrift for that end. 'Tis your own fault, if you be without reft, in any condition, in this world. Set yourfelves to study the fulness of Chrift, and to clear your intereft in him; believe what the fcriptures reveal of him, and live as you believe, and you will quickly find the peace of God filling your hearts and ninds.
Wherein the general Exhortation is enforced, by one
MATTH. ix. 12. But when Jefus heard that, he said unto them,
HAVING opened, in the former discourses, the nature, and method, of the application of Chrift to finners; it remains, now, that I prefs it upon every foul, as it expects peace, and pardon from God, to apply and put on Jefus Chrift; (i. e.) to get union with him, by faith, whilft he is yet held forth in the free, and gracious tenders of the gospel. To which purpose, I fhall now labour, in this general use of exhortation in which my laft fubject engaged me; wherein divers arguments will be further urged, both from
1. The titles, and
2. The privileges, of Jefus Chrift.
The titles of Chrift are fo many motives, or arguments, fitted to perfuade men to come unto him. Amongft which, Christ, as the phyfician of fouls, comes under our first confideration, in the
text before us.
The occafion of thefe words of Chrift, was the call of Matthew the publican, who having first opened his heart, next a
pened his houfe to Chrift, and entertains him there. This strange and unexpected change, wrought upon Matthew, quickly brings in all the neighbourhood, and many Publicans and finners reforted thither; at which the ftomachs of the proud Pharifees began to fwell. From this occafion, they took offence at Chrift, and, in this verfe, Chrift takes off the offence, by fuch an answer as was fitted, both for their conviction, and his own vindication. But when Jefus heard that, he faid unto them, The whole have no need of a phyfician, but they that are fick."
He gives it, faith one, as a reason why he conversed so much with Publicans and finners, and fo little among the Pharifees, becaufe there was more work for him; Chrift came to be a phyfician to fick fouls; Pharifees were fo well, in their own conceit, that Christ saw they would have little to do with him; and fo he applied himself to those who were more fenfible of their fickness.
In the words, we have an account of the temper, and state, both of,
1. The fecure and unconvinced finner.
2. The humbled and convinced finner.
3. Of the carriage of Christ, and his different respect to both. First, The fecure finner is here defcribed, both with refpect to his own apprehenfions of himself, as one that is whole, and alfo by his low value and efteem for Chrift, he fees no need of him; "The whole have no need of the phyfician."
Secondly, The convinced and humbled finner, is here, alfo, defcribed, and that both by his ftate and condition, he is fick; and by his valuation of Jefus Chrift, he greatly needs him: they that are fick need the phyfician.
Thirdly, We have here Chrift's carriage, and different refpect to both; the former he rejects, and paffeth by, as those with whom he hath no concernment; the latter he converfes with, in order to their cure.
The words, thus opened, are fruitful in obfervations. I fhall neither note, nor infist upon any, befide this one, which fuits the fcope of my difcourfe, viz.
Doct. That the Lord Jefus Chrift is the only phyfician for fick fouls.
The world is a great hofpital, full of fick and dying fouls, all wounded by one and the fame mortal weapon, fin. Some are fenfelefs of their mifery, feel not their pains, value not a phyfician; others are full of fenfe, as well as danger; mourn under the apprehenfion of their condition, and fadly bewail it. The merciful God hath, in his abundant compaffion to the perishing
world, fent a physician from heaven, and given him his orders, under the great feal of heaven, for his office; Ifa. lxi. 1, 2. which he opened, and read, in the audience of the people. Luke iv. 18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he "hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he "hath fent me to bind up the broken-hearted," &c. He is the tree of life, whofe leaves are for the healing of the nations: he is Jehovah Rophe, the Lord that healeth us; and that as he is Jehovah Tzidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. The brazen ferpent that healed the Ifraelites in the wilderness, was an excellent type of our great phyfician Chrift, and is exprefly applied to him, John iii. 14. He rejects none that come, and heals all whom he undertakes; but, more particularly, I will,
Firft, Point at thofe difeafes which Chrift heals in fick fouls, and by what means he heals them.
Secondly, The excellency of this physician above all others : there is none like Chrift, he is the only phyfician for wounded fouls.
First, We will enquire into the diseases which Christ, the phyfician, cures; and they are reducible to two heads, viz.
1. Sin; and,
First, The difeafe of fin; in which three things are found ex-, ceeding burdenfome to fick fouls.
1. The guilt,
2. The dominion,
3. The inherence of fin; all cured by this physician, and how. First, The guilt of fin; this is a mortal wound, a stab in the very heart of a poor finner. It is a fond, and groundless diftinction, that Papifts make of fins mortal and venial; all fin, in its own nature, is mortal; Rom. vi. 23. "The wages of
fin is death." Yet though it be fo in its own nature, Christ can, and doth cure it, by the fovereign balfam of his own precious blood; Eph. i. 7. "In whom we have redemption, through "his blood, the forgiveness of fins, according to the riches of "his grace." This is the deepest, and deadliest wound, the foul of man feels in this world: What is guilt, but the obligation of the foul to everlasting punishment and mifery? It puts the foul under the fentence of God to eternal wrath; the condemning fentence of the great and terrible God; than which,. nothing is found more dreadful, and infupportable: put all pains, all poverty, all afflictions, all miferies, in one scale, and God's condemnation in the other, and you weigh but so many feathers, against a talent of lead..