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believers drop anchor. This is that bleffed object, on whom they take the dead gripe, or laft grafp, when their eye ftrings and heart-ftrings are breaking. When you fee the blood of Chrift flowing forth, how can faith be filent in thy foul? When he bids thee, as it were, to put thy finger into his fide, fhews thee his hands, and his feet there; it will cry out in thy foul, My Lord! and my God!
Secondly, The flowing spring of repentance is here. If there be any fire that can melt, or hammer that can break a hard heart, here it is; Zech. xii. 10. "They fhall look upon me, "whom they have pierced, and mourn." Nothing lays a gracious foul lower in itself, than to fee how low Chrift was laid in his humiliation for it.
Here the evil of fin is alfo reprefented in the cleareft glafs, that ever the eye of man faw it in. The fufferings of the Son of God difcover the evil of fin, more than the everlafting torments of the damned can do. So that, if there be but one drop of spiritual forrow in the heart of a Christian; here, methinks, it should be feen dropping from the eye of faith.
Thirdly, The most attractive object of love is here. Put all created beauties, excellencies, and perfections together; and what are they but blackness and deformity, compared with the lovely Jefus? My beloved (faith the enamoured spouse) is white and ruddy, Cant. v. 10. Behold him at the table, in his perfect innocency, and unparalleled fufferings! This is He "who was rich, but for our fakes became poor; that we, "through his poverty, might be rich," 2 Cor. viii. 9. This is he that parted with his honour firft, and his life next; yea, he parted with his honour in his incarnation, that he might be capable to part with his life for our redemption.
Behold here the degrees of his fufferings, and by them meafure the degrees of his love. Behold in his death, as in the deluge, all the fountains beneath, and the windows of heaven above, opened; the wrath of God, the cruelty of men, the fury of hell, breaking in together upon him, and his foul furrounded with forrow; and how can this be represented, and thy foul not aftonifhed at this amazing, matchlefs love of Chrift? Surely one flame doth not more naturally produce another, than the love of Chrift, thus represented to a gracious foul, doth produce love to Chrift, and that in the most intense degree.
Ufe 1. How naturally doth this doctrine fhame and humble the best hearts, for their finful difcompofures, vanity, and deadnefs; for the rovings and wanderings of their hearts, even
when they come near the Lord in fuch a folemn ordinance as this is?
The holiest man upon earth may lay his hand upon his breast, and fay, 'Lord, how unfuitable is this heart of mine, to fuch an object of faith, as is here prefented to me? Doth fuch a temper of fpirit fuit thine awful prefence? Should the reprefented agonies and fufferings of Chrift for me, be ⚫ beheld with a spirit no more concerned, pierced, and wound⚫ed for fin? O how can I look upon him whom I have pier ⚫ced, and not mourn, and be in bitterness for him, as for an
only fon, a first-born! O the ftupifying and benumbing 'power of fin! O the efficacy of unbelief!"
It was charged upon the Ifraelites, as the great aggravation of their fin, that they "provoked God at the fea, even at the "red fea," Pfal. cvi. 7. the place where their miraculous falvation was wrought. But, Lord Jefus! my hard heart pro vokes thee in an higher degree, even at the red fea of thy precious invaluable blood, by which my eternal falvation was wrought. O my God! what a heart have I? Did the blood of Chrift run out fo freely and abundantly for me; and cannot I shed one tear for my fins, that pierced him? O let me never be friends with my own heart, till it love Christ better, and hate fin more.
Use 2. This scripture hath also an awakening voice, to all that come nigh to God in any of his ordinances, especially in this ordinance. O Chriftians! bethink yourfelves where you are, and what you are doing: Know you not, that the King comes in to see the guests? Yea, you do know, that God is in this place; an awful Majeft beholds you! "All the churches
fhall know, that I am he that fearcheth the heart and the reins, "and will give to every one as his work fhall be," Rev. ii. 2.
Thy business, Chriftian, is not with men, but with God; and the folemnest business that ever thy thoughts were conver fant about. Thou art here to recognize the fufferings of thy Redeemer; to take the feals and pledges of thy falvation from the hand of his Spirit: Imagine the fame thing, which is now to be done fpiritually, and by the miniftry of faith, were but to be performed visibly and audibly, by the miniftry of thy fenfes. Suppofe Jefus Chrift did perfonally fhew himself at this table, and were pleased to make himself known in breaking of bread, as once he did to the difciples. Suppose thou fawest him as pear at this table as he doth now appear in heaven, as Lamb that had been Дlain: Imagine thou heardt hint fay, Believer, this precious blood of mine was fhed for
thee: There be millions of men and women in the world, naturally as good as thee, that shall have no interest in it, or benefit by it: But for thee, it was shed, and for the remiffion of thy fins; my blood was the only thing in the world that was equal to the defert of thy fins, and it hath made full fatisfaction to God for them all: Thy fins, which are many, are therefore forgiven thee: My blood hath purchafed the eternal inheritance of glory for thee; and this day I am come to deliver the feals and pledges thereof into ⚫ thine hand. Take then the feals of eternal falvation this day, take thine own Chrift with all that he is, and hath • in thine arms. Whatever I have fuffered, done, or procur⚫ed for any of my faints; I have fuffered, done, and procured the fame for thee."
Why, all this is here to be done, as really and truly, tho' in a more spiritual way, at this table. And fhall not fuch bufinefs as this is, fully fix and engage thy heart? What then shall do it?
Awake, faith; awake, repentance; awake, love; yea, let all the powers of my foul be thoroughly awakened this day to
attend the Lord.
JER. xii. 2. Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
HIS fcripture gives us the character and defcription of an hypocrite: And he is here defcribed two ways; viz. 1. By what he hath.
2. By what he hath not.
First, The hypocrite is defcribed by what he hath: Hehath God in his mouth; "Thou art near in their mouth;" i. e. They profefs with a full mouth, that they are thy people, faith Pifcator; or, they speak much about the law (as another explains it); God, and his temple, religion, with its rites, are much talked of among them; they have him in their prayers and duties; and this is all that the hypocrite hath of God; re
ligion only fanctifies his tongue; that feems to be dedicated to God; but it penetrates no farther. And therefore,
Secondly, He is defcribed by that he hath not, or by what he wants: And (or, but) thou art far from their reins; i. e. They feel not the power and influences of that name, which they fo often invocate and talk of, going down to their very reins, and affecting their very hearts. So we muft understand this metaphorical expreffion here, as the oppofition directs: For the reins, having so great and fenfible a fympathy with the heart, (which is the feat of the affections and paffions,) upon that account, it is ufual in fcripture, to put the reins for those intimate and fecret affections, thoughts, and paffions of the heart, with which they have fo near cognation; and fo fenfible a fympathy. When the heart is under great confternation, the loins or reins are feized alfo. As Dan. v. 6. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts
troubled him, and the joints of his loins were loofed." On the contrary, when the heart is filled with delight and gladness, the reins are faid to rejoice; Prov. xxiii. 16. "Yea, my
reins fhall rejoice, when thy lips fpeak right:" Tótus lætitia diffiliam; "I fhall even leap for joy." So then, when the prophet faith, "God is far from the reins of the hypocrite ;" the meaning is, he feels not the heart-affecting influence and power of religion upon his heart and affections, as God's people do. And hence the note will be,
Doct. That God comes nearer to the hearts and reins of his people in their duties; than he doth to any hypocritical, or formal profeffor.
By God's nearness, we understand not his omhiprefence (that neither comes nor goes) nor his love to his people (that abides); but the fenfible, sweet manifeftations, and outlets of it to their fouls. So in Pfal. cxlv. 18. "The Lord is nigh un to all that call upon him, unto all that call upon him in * truth."
Note, the restriction and limitation of this glorious privilege; it is the peculiar enjoyment of fincere and upright-hearted worshippers. Others may have communion with duties, but not with God in them.
But that God comes nigh, very nigh, to upright hearts in their duties, is a truth as fenfibly manifeft to fpiritual perfons, as that they are nigh the fire, when they feel the comfortabla heat of it refreshing them in a cold season, when they are al
most starved and benumbed with cold. Three things make this evident.
First, Sincere fouls are sensible of God's acceffes to them in their duties, they feel his approaches to their fpirits; Lam. iii. 57. "Thou drewest near in the day that I called thee'; upon "thou faidft, Fear not." And what a furprize was that to the church; Cant. ii. 8. "It is the voice of my beloved; behold, "he cometh," &c. Certainly there is a felt presence of God, which no words can make another to understand; they feel that fountain flowing abundantly into the dry pits, the heart fills apace, the empty thoughts fwell with a fulness of fpiritual things, which ftrive for vent.
Secondly, They are fenfible of God's receffes, and withdrawment from their fpirits; they feel how the ebb follows the flood, and how the waters abate. So you find it in Cant. v. 6. "I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had with"drawn himself, and was gone; my foul failed when he "fpake: I fought him, but I could not find him; I called, "but he gave me no answer." The Hebrew is very pathetical; He was gone, was gone. A fad change of the frame of her heart quickly followed.
Thirdly, The Lord's nearness to the hearts and reins of his people in their duties, is evident to them from the effects that it leaves upon their Spirits. For look, as it is with the earth and plants, with refpect to the approach or remove of the fun in the fpring and autumn; so it is here as Chrift speaks, Luke xxi. 29. "When ye fee the fig-tree, and all the trees, shoot "forth, ye know that fummer is nigh at hand." An approaching fun renews the face of the earth, and makes nature fmile. The trees bud and bloffom, the fishes rife, the birds fing; it is a kind of refurrection to nature from the dead, So it is when the Lord comes near the hearts and reins of men in duty: For then they find that,
Firft, A real tafte of the joy of the Lord Dr. Prefton, is here given to men, the fulness whereof is in whendying,faid, heaven; hence called, 2 Cor. i. 22. "The Ifball change my earneft of his Spirit." And 1 Pet. i. 8. my place, not Glorified joy, or a fhort falvation. Oh! what company. is this! what is this! Certainly it is fomething that hath no affinity with flefh, or grofs corporeal pleafures; but is of another nature, fomething which transcends all that ever was felt or tafted in this world, fince we were first converfant among fenfible objects.