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Serm. Nature and Life of God; each in their
Christ, into the World; that, inviting Serm. men to Repentance, declaring to them III. more distinctly the Malignity of Sin, giving them the fullest Alfurances of Pardon (upon their real and sincere Amendment) through the Merit of his own once offering himself a Sacrifice for ever, and revealing to them more clearly the Certainty of a future Judgment, and the Rewards and Punishments of the Life to come, he might by these means reduce them to the Obedience of God's Commands, and consequently restore them to the Divine Favour. Christ has once suffered for Sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, 1 Pet. iii. 18. And Col. i. 21. You that were fometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now bath be reconciled in the body of this Flesh through death, to present you boly and unblameable and unreproveable in bis Sight. But then we must here carefully observe, that in like manner as God originally and from the Beginning, while the inanimate world obeys him absolutely and by necessity of Nature, would not compel the Obedience of rational Creatures by the irresistible
Ser M. ness of his Power, but exacted it, only III. from the willing Compliance of their
own Choice; so now likewise in the restoration of men by Christ, he will have no one reduced to his obedience by Force, but by such Motives as work properly upon rational Agents, Reason and Arguments, Promises and I breatnings, Hopes and Fears. Thus in the Old Testament; I taught Ephraim to go, says God by the Prophet, taking them by their arms, but they knew not that I bealed them; I drew them with Cords of a man, with bands of Love, and I was to them as they that take off the yoke, Hof. xi. 3. And in the Gospel; No man, says our Saviour in the words of the Text, can come to Me, except the Father, which has fent me, draw him: No man can be a worthy Disciple of Christ, if he has not first upon his mind a due sense of God. No man can be a fincere Follower of the Son of God, who is not in a disposition of being drawn to a Love of Virtue, and of being prevailed upon to practise Righteousness, by a Sense of the Goodress and Reasonableness and Excellency of the eternal Laws of God, even the Father, who sent him.
. For the clearer and more distinct ex-Serm. plication of which doctrine, and of our I. Lord's full Meaning and Intention in these words; it will be proper to consider particularly,
First, WHAT is meant by the Phrase of Coming to Christ: No Man can Gome to Me, except the Father webich has fent me draw him. Some enthusiastick persons, judging of the Sense of this Phrase merely from the conceptions of their own imagination, and not from its Use and clear Signification in other passages of the same Writings; (which indeed is the only posfible way of Understanding the true meaning either of Scripture, or of any book whatsoever :)) and Others negligently following Their Interpretation, have fupposed that Coming to Christ means a relying or depending upon His Merits and Satisfa&tion, to bring them to Salvation, whether they obey his Commandments by a virtuous Course of Life, or no. But whoever considers the many Passages of Scripture, in which this expression is to be met with, cannot fail to observe, that it really signifies quite another thing. Heb. xi. 6. He that cometh to God, must Vol. III.
SER M.believe that he Is, and that he is a Rewarder III. of them that diligently seek bim : Coming
to God here evidently expresses the fame thing, as diligently seeking him : And, diligently seeking him, is the same as sincerely defiring to know and obey bis Will, in order to please him. Again, ch. vii. 25. Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come. unto God by him, feeing he ever liveth to make intercesion for them: Coming unto God by Christ, is, Sinners returning by Repen tance and real Amendment to the Obedience of God's Commands, in hopes of obtaining pardon for what is past, through the intercession of Christ. In like manner therefore, Coming unto Christ, fignifies also serving and obeying Him, becoming his Disciples, believing his doctrine and li ving accurding to it, fincerely desiring to understand and practise his Will: Joh. vi, 35. He that cometh to me, pall never bunger ; he that believes and obeys the Gospel, shall never want any thing necessary towards his obtaining eternal Life. And thus likewise in the words of the Text; No man can come to Me, No Man can be a worthy disciple of Christ, no Man can a be true and sincere Chrifti