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427 "God is with you." No people like the people of God now; as one faid, when he heard of two faithful friends, Utinam tertius effem! O that I might make the third! Whatever vile or low thoughts they had of the people of God before, to be sure now they are the excellent of the earth, in whom is all their. delight: the holiness of the faints might have fome interest in their confciences before, but they never had fuch an interest in their eftimations and affections, till this leffon was taught them by the Father.
Leffon 11. Eleventhly, All that come to Chrift are taught of God, that whatever difficulties they apprehend in religion, yet they must not, upon pain of damnation, be difcouraged thereby, or return again to fin, Luke ix. 62. "No man having put his "hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom " of God." Ploughing-work is hard work; aftrong and steady hand is required for it: he that ploughs, muft keep on, and make no balks of the hardest and toughest ground he meets with. Religion alfo is the running of a race, 1 Cor. ix. 24.; there is no ftanding ftill, much lefs turning back, if ever we hope to win the prize.
The devil, indeed, labours every way to discourage and daunt the foul, by reprefenting the infuperable difficulties of religion to it; and young beginners are but too apt to be discouraged, and fall under defpondency; but the teachings of the Father are encouraging teachings; they are carried on from strength to ftrength against all the oppofitions they meet with from without them, and the many discouragements they find within them, To this conclufion they are brought by the teaching of God, We must have Chrift, we must get a pardon, we muft ftrive for falvation, let the difficulties, troubles, and fufferings in the way be never fo great or many. As he faid, Neceffe eft ut eam, non ut vivam; it is neceffary that I go on, it is not necessary that 1 live: So faith the foul that is taught of God; it is easier for me to dispense with ease, honour, relations, yea, with life itself, than to part with Chrift, and the hopes of eternal life.
Leffon 12. Twelfthly, They that come to Chrift, are taught of God, that whatever guilt and unworthiness they discover in themselves, and whatever fears and doubts are upon their hearts, as to pardon and acceptance; yet, as the cafe ftands, it is their wisdom and great intereft, to venture themselves in the way of faith, upon Jefus Chrift, whatever the iffue thereof be.
Three great difcouragments are ufually found upon the hearts of those that come to Chrift in the way of faith.
First, The fenfible greatnefs of guilt and fin. How can I go to Christ that am in fuch a case, that have been fo vile a wretch? And here measuring the grace and mercy of Christ, by what it finds in itself, or in other creatures, 1 Sam. xxiv. 19. the foul is ready to fink under the weight of its own difcouraging, and mifgiving thoughts.
Secondly, The fenfe they have of their own weakness, and inability to do what God requires, and muft of neceffity be done, if ever they be faved. My heart is harder than an ada mant, how can I break it? My will is stubborn, and exceeding obstinate, I am no way able to bow it; the frame and temper of my fpirit is altogether carnal, and earthly; and it is not in the power of my hand to alter and change it; alas! I cannot fubdue any one corruption, nor perform one spiritual duty, nor bear one of thofe fufferings and burdens, which religion lays upon all that follow Chrift: this also proves a great difcourage ment in the way of faith.
Thirdly, And, which is more than all, the foul that is coming to Jefus Chrift, hath no affurance of acceptance with him, if it should adventure itfelf upon him: it is a great hazard, a great adventure; it is much more probable, if I look to myself, that Christ will shut the door of mercy against me.
But under all these difcouragements the foul learns this leffon from God, That, as ungodly as it is, nevertheless it is every way its great duty and concernment to go on in the way of faith, and make that great adventure of itself upon Jesus Christ: and of this the Lord convinceth the foul by two things, viz.
1. From the abfolute neceffity of coming.
2. From the encouraging probabilities of speeding.
First, The foul feeth an abfolute neceffity of coming: neceffity is laid upon it, there is no other way, Acts iv. 12. God hath fhut it up by a bleffed neceffity to this only door of escape, Gal. iii. 23. Damnation lies in the neglect of Chrift, Heb. ii. 3. The foul hath no choice in this cafe; angels, minifters, duties, repentance, reformation cannot fave me; Chrift, and none but Chrift can deliver me from prefent guilt, and the wrath to come. Why do I difpute, demur, delay, when certain ruin must inevitably follow the neglect or refusal of gospel-offers ?
Secondly, The Lord fheweth those that are under his teaching, the probabilities of mercy, for their encouragement in the way of believing. And thefe probabilities the foul is enabled to gather from the general and free invitations of the gospel, Ifa. Iv. 1, 7. Rev. xxii. 17. from the conditional promises of the gospel, John vi. 37. Math. xi. 28. Ifa. i. 18. from the vast ex
tent of grace, beyond all the thoughts and hopes of the creatures, Ifa. lv. 8, 9. Heb. vii. 25. from the encouraging examples of other finners, who have found mercy in as bad a condition as they, 1 Tim. i. 13. 2 Chron. xxxiii. 3. 2 Cor. vi. 10, 11. from the command of God, which warrants the action, and anfwers all the objections of unworthinefs and prefumption in them that come to Chrift, 1 John iii. 23. and lastly, from the fenfible changes already made upon the temper and frame of the heart. Time was, when I had no sense of fin, nor forrow for fin; no defire after Christ, nor heart to duties. But it is not fo with me now; I now fee the evil of fin; so as I never faw it before; my heart is now broken in the fenfe of that evil; my defires begin to be enflamed after Jesus Christ; I am not at reft, nor where I would be, till I am in fecret mourning after the Lord Jefus; furely these are the dawnings of the day of mercy; let me go on in this way. It faith, as the lepers at the fiege of Samaria, 2 Kings vii. 3, 4. "If I stay here, I perish :" If I go to Chrift, I can but perish. Hence believers bear up against all objected difcouragements, certum exitium commutemus incerto: it is the dictate of wisdom, the vote of reafon, to exchange a certain for an uncertain ruin. And thus you have here what those excellent leffons are, which all that come to Christ are taught by the Father.
JOHN vi. 45. It is written in the Prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and bath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
IN the former fermon, you have been taught this great
Doct. That the teachings of God are abfolutely neceffary to every foul that cometh unto Chrift, in the way of faith. What the teachings of God import, hath been formerly opened; and what those special leffons are, which all believers hear and learn of the Father, was the last thing difcourfed: that which remains to be further cleared about this fubject, before I come to the application of the whole, will be to fhew you,
1. What are the properties of divine teachings.
2. What influence they have in bringing fouls to Chrift.
3. Why it is impoffible for any man to come to Christ without these teachings of the Father.
First, What are the properties of divine teachings? Concerning the teachings of God, we affirm in general, that, though they exclude not, yet they vaftly differ from all human teach. ings as the power of God in effecting tranfcends all human power, fo the wisdom of God in teaching, tranfcends all human wisdom. For,
1. God teacheth powerfully; he fpeaketh to the foul with a ftrong hand; when the word cometh accompanied with the Spirit, it is " mighty through God, to cast down all imaginations,” 2 Cor. x. 4. Now the gofpel "comes not in word only, (as "it was wont to do), but in power," 1 Thef. i. 4, 5. a power that makes the foul fall down before it, and acknowledge that God is in that word, 1 Cor. xiv. 25.
2. The teachings of God are sweet teachings. Men never relish the sweetness of a truth, till they learn it from God, Cant. i. 3. “His name is as ointment poured forth." Cant. v. "His mouth is most fweet." O how powerfully and how fweetly doth the voice of God slide into the hearts of poor melting finners! how jejune, dry, and taftelefs are the discourses of men, compared with the teachings of the Father!
3. God teacheth plainly and clearly: He not only opens truths to the understanding, but he openèth the understanding alfo to perceive them, 2 Cor. iii. 16. In that day the vail is taken away from the heart; a light shineth into the foul; a clear beam from heaven is darted into the mind, Luke xxiv. 45. Divine teachings are fully fatisfying; the foul doubts no more, staggers and hesitates no more, but acquiefces in that which God teaches; it is fo fatisfied, that it can venture all upon the truth of what i hath learned from God; as that martyr faid, I cannot difpute, but I can die for Chrift. See Prov. viii. 8, 9.
Fourthly, The teachings of God are infallible teachings. The wifeft and holiest of men may mistake, and lead others into the fame mistakes with themfelves; but it is not fo in the teachings of God. If we can be fure that God teacheth us, we may be as fure of the truth of what he teacheth; for his Spirit guideth us into all truth, John xvi. 13. and into nothing but truth.
Fifthly, The teachings of God are abiding teachings; they make everlasting impreffions upon the foul, Pfal. cxix. 98. they are ever with it: The words of men vanish from us; but the words of God abide by us : what God teacheth, he writeth upon the heart, Jer. xxxi. 33. and that will abide; litera fcripta manet. 'Tis ufual with fouls, whofe understandings have been opened
by the Lord, many years afterward to fay, I fhall never forget fuch a fcripture that once convinced, fuch a promise that once encouraged me.
Sixthly, The teachings of God are faving teachings; they make the foul wife unto falvation, 2 Tim. iii. 15. There is a great deal of other knowledge that goes to hell with men: The pavement of hell (as one fpeaks) is pitched with the fkulls of many great scholars, but eternal life is in the teachings of God, John xvii. 3. "This is eternal life, to know thee the only true God, and Jefus Chrift, whom thou haft fent." This is defervedly filed the light of this life, John viii. 12. "In this light "we fhall fee light," Pfal. xxxvi. 9.
Seventhly, The teachings of God make their own way into the dulleft, and weakest capacities, Ifa. xxxii. 4. “ The heart al"fo of the rafh fhall understand knowledge, and the tongue of "the stammerers fhall be ready to speak plainly :" Upon this account Christ faid, Mat. xi. 25. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord "of heaven and earth, because thou haft hid these things from "the wife and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes:" 'Tis admirable to fee what clear illuminations fome poor illiterate Chriftians have in the mysteries of Chrift and falvation, which others, of great abilities, deep and fearching heads, can never discover with all their learning and ftudy.
Eightly, To conclude, The teachings of God are transforming teachings, 2 Cor. iii. 18. they change the foul into the fame image: God cafts them, whom he teacheth, into the very mould of thofe truths which they learn from him, Rom. vi. 17. These are the teachings of God, and thus he instructeth those that come to Christ.
Secondly, Next let us fee what influence divine teachings have upon fouls, in bringing them to Christ; and we shall find a three-fold influence in them.
1. They have an influence upon the external means, by which they come to Christ.
2. They have an influence upon the mind, to remove what hindred it from Christ.
3. They have an influence upon the will, to allure and draw it to Chrift.
First, They have an influence upon the means, by which we come to Chrift: the best ordinances are but a dead letter except the Spirit, the teaching and quickening Spirit of God, work in fellowship with them, 2 Cor. iii. 6. The beft ministers, like the difciples, cast forth the net, but take nothing, win not one foul to God, till God teach as well as they. Paul is nothing, and A