COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST
A 6. Ziba, in appearance, came to David much faster than did Mephibosheth; but
yet his heart was not so upright in him to David as was his. It is true,
Mephibosheth had a check from David; for, said he, "Why wentest not thou with
me, Mephibosheth?" But when David came to remember that Mephibosheth was lame,
for that was his plea -"thy servant is lame" (2 Sam 19), he was content, and
concluded, he would have come after him faster than he did; and Mephibosheth
appealed to David, who was in those days as an angel of God, to know all things
that are done in the earth, if he did not believe that the reason of his
backwardness lay in his lameness, and not in his mind. Why, poor coming sinner,
thou canst not come to Christ with that outward swiftness of a courier as many
others do; but doth the reason of thy backwardness lie in thy mind and will, or
in the sluggishness of the flesh? Canst thou say sincerely, "The spirit indeed
is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt 26:41). Yea, canst thou appeal to the
Lord Jesus, who knoweth perfectly the very inmost thought of thy heart, that
this is true? Then take this for thy comfort, he hath said, "I will assemble her
that halteth - I will make her that halted a remnant," (Micah 4:6), "and I will
save her that halteth" (Zeph 3:19). What canst thou have more from the sweet
lips of the Son of God? But,
7. I read of some that are to follow Christ in chains; I say, to come after him
in chains. "Thus saith the Lord, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of
Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they
shall be thine: they shall come after thee: in chains they shall come over, and
they shall fall down unto thee: they shall make supplication unto thee, saying -
Surely there is none else" to save (Isa 45:14). Surely they that come after
Christ in chains, come to him in great difficulty, because their steps, by the
chains, are straitened. And what chains are so heavy as those that discourage
thee? Thy chain, which is made up of guilt and filth, is heavy; it is a wretched
bond about thy neck, by which thy strength doth fail (Lam 1:14; 3:18). But come,
though thou comest in chains; it is glory to Christ that a sinner comes after
him in chains. The chinking of thy chains, though troublesome to thee, are not,
nor can be obstruction to thy salvation; it is Christ's work and glory to save
thee from thy chains, to enlarge thy steps, and set thee at liberty. The blind
man, though called, surely could not come apace to Jesus Christ, but Christ
could stand still, and stay for him (Mark 10:49). True, "He rideth upon the
wings of the wind;" but yet he is long-suffering, and his long-suffering is
salvation to him that cometh to him (2 Peter 3:9).
8. Hadst thou seen those that came to the Lord Jesus in the days of his flesh,
how slowly, how hobblingly, they came to him, by reason of their infirmities;
and also how friendly, and kindly, and graciously, he received them, and gave
them the desire of their hearts, thou wouldest not, as thou dost, make such
objections against thyself, in thy coming to Jesus Christ.
Object. 5. But, says another, I fear I come too late; I doubt I have staid too
long; I am afraid the door is shut.
Answ. Thou canst never come too late to Jesus Christ, if thou dost come. This is
manifest by two instances.
1. By the man that came to him at the eleventh hour. This man was idle all the
day long. He had a whole gospel day to come in, and he played it all away save
only the last hour thereof. But at last, at the eleventh hour, he came, and goes
into the vineyard to work with the rest of the labourers, that had borne the
burden and heat of the day. Well, but how was he received by the lord of the
vineyard? Why, when pay-day came, he had even as much as the rest; yea, had his
money first. True, the others murmured at him; but what did the Lord Jesus
answer them? "Is thine eye evil, because I am good? I will give unto this last,
even as unto thee" (Matt 20:14,15).
2. The other instance is, the thief upon the cross. He came late also, even as
at an hour before his death; yea, he stayed from Jesus Christ as long as he had
liberty to be a thief, and longer too; for could he have deluded the judge, and
by lying words have escaped his just condemnation, for ought I know, he had not
come as yet to his Saviour; but being convicted, and condemned to die, yea,
fastened to the cross, that he might die like a rogue, as he was in his life;
behold the Lord Jesus, when this wicked one, even now, desireth mercy at his
hands, tells him, and that without the least reflection upon him, for his former
misspent life, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Let no
man turn this grace of God into wantonness. My design is now to encourage the
Object. But is not the door of mercy shut against some before they die?
Answ. Yea; and God forbids that prayers should be made to him for them (Jer
6:16; Jude 22).
Quest. Then, why may not I doubt that I may be one of these?
Answ. By no means, if thou art coming to Jesus Christ; because when God shuts
the door upon men, he gives them no heart to come to Jesus Christ. "None come
but those to whom it is given of the Father." But thou comest, therefore it is
given to thee of the Father.
Be sure, therefore, if the Father hath given thee an heart to come to Jesus
Christ, the gate of mercy yet stands open to thee. For it stands not with the
wisdom of God to give strength to come to the birth, and yet to shut up the
womb, (Isa 66:9); to give grace to come to Jesus Christ, and yet shut up the
door of his mercy upon thee. "Incline your ear," saith he, "and come unto me:
hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with
you, even the sure mercies of David" (Isa 55:3).
Object. But it is said, that some knocked when the door was shut.
Answ. Yes; but the texts in which these knockers are mentioned, are to be
referred unto the day of judgment, and not to the coming of the sinner to Christ
in this life. See the texts, Matthew 15:11, Luke 13:24,25. These, therefore,
concern thee nothing at all, that art coming to Jesus Christ, thou art coming
NOW! "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor
6:2). Now God is upon the mercy-seat; now Christ Jesus sits by, continually
pleading the victory of his blood for sinners; and now, even as long as this
world lasts, this word of the text shall still be free, and fully fulfilled;
"And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Sinner, the greater sinner thou art, the greater need of mercy thou hast, and
the more will Christ be glorified thereby. Come then, come and try; come, taste
and see how good the Lord is to an undeserving sinner!
Object. 6. But, says another, I am fallen since I began to come to Christ;
therefore I fear I did not come aright, and so consequently that Christ will not
Answ. Falls are dangerous, for they dishonour Christ, wound the conscience, and
cause the enemies of God to speak reproachfully. But it is no good argument, I
am fallen, therefore I was not coming aright to Jesus Christ. If David, and
Solomon, and Peter, had thus objected against themselves, they had added to
their griefs; and yet, at least they had as much cause as thou. A man whose
steps are ordered by the Lord, and whose goings the Lord delights in, may yet be
overtaken with a temptation that may cause him to fall 11 (Psa 37:23,24). Did
not Aaron fall; yea, and Moses himself? What shall we say of Hezekiah and
Jehosaphat? There are, therefore, falls and falls; falls pardonable and falls
unpardonable. Falls unpardonable are falls against light, from the faith, to the
despising of, and trampling upon Jesus Christ and his blessed undertakings (Heb
6:2-5; 10:28,29). Now, as for such, there remains no more sacrifice for sin.
Indeed, they have no heart, no mind, no desire to come to Jesus Christ for life,
therefore they must perish. Nay, says the Holy Ghost, "It is impossible that
they should be renewed again unto repentance." Therefore these God had no
compassion for, neither ought we; but for other falls though they be dreadful,
and God will chastise his people for them, they do not prove thee a graceless
man, one not coming to Jesus Christ for life.
It is said of the child in the gospel, that while "he was yet a coming, the
devil threw him down, and tare him" (Luke 9:42). Dejected sinner, it is no
wonder that thou hast caught a fall in coming to Jesus Christ. Is it not rather
to be wondered at, that thou hast not caught before this a thousand times a
thousand falls? considering, 1. What fools we are by nature. 2. What weaknesses
are in us. 3. What mighty powers the fallen angels, our implacable enemies, are.
4. Considering also how often the coming man is benighted in his journey; and
also what stumblingblocks do lie in his way. 5. Also his familiars, that were so
before, now watch for his halting, and seek by what means they may to cause him
to fall by the hand of their strong ones.
What then? Must we, because of these temptations, incline to fall? No. Must we
not fear falls? Yes. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall"
(1 Cor 10:12). Yet let him not utterly be cast down; "The Lord upholdeth all
that fall, and raiseth up those that are bowed down." Make not light of falls!
Yet, hast thou fallen? "Ye have," said Samuel, "done all this wickedness; yet
turn not aside from following the Lord," but serve him with a perfect heart, and
turn not aside, "for the Lord will not forsake his people," and he counteth the
coming sinner one of them, "because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his
people" (1 Sam 12:20-22).
[WHAT FORCE THERE IS IN THE PROMISE TO MAKE THEM COME TO CHRIST.]
SECOND, "Shall come to me." Now we come to show WHAT FORCE THERE IS IN THIS
PROMISE TO MAKE THEM COME TO HIM. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to
me." I will speak to this promise, First, In general. Second, In particular.
[First], In general. This word SHALL is confined to these ALL that are given to
Christ. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." Hence I conclude,
1. That coming to Jesus Christ aright is an effect of their being, of God, given
to Christ before. Mark, They shall come. Who? Those that are given. They come,
then, because they were given, "thine they were, and thou gavest them me." Now,
this is indeed a singular comfort to them that are coming in truth to Christ, to
think that the reason why they come is, because they were given of the Father
before to him. Thus, then, may the coming soul reason with himself as he comes.
Am I coming, indeed, to Jesus Christ? This coming of mine is not to be
attributed to me or my goodness, but to the grace and gift of God to Christ. God
gave first my person to him, and, therefore, hath now given me a heart to come.
2. This word, shall come, maketh thy coming not only the fruit of the gift of
the Father, but also of the purpose of the Son; for these words are a Divine
purpose; they show us the heavenly determination of the Son. "The Father hath
given them to me, and they shall; yea, they shall come to me." Christ is as full
in his resolution to save those given to him as is the Father in giving of them.
Christ prizeth the gift of his Father; he will lose nothing of it; he is
resolved to save it every whit by his blood, and to raise it up again at the
last day; and thus he fulfills his Father's will, and accomplisheth his own
desires (John 6:39).
3. These words, shall come, make thy coming to be also the effect of an absolute
promise; coming sinner, thou art concluded in a promise; thy coming is the fruit
of the faithfulness of an absolute promise. It was this promise, by the virtue
of which thou at first receivedst strength to come; and this is the promise, by
the virtue of which thou shalt be effectually brought to him. It was said to
Abraham, "At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son." This son was
Isaac. Mark! "Sarah shall have a son;" there is the promise. And Sarah had a
son; there was the fulfilling of the promise; and, therefore, was Isaac called
the child of the promise (Gen 17:19; 18:10; Rom 9:9).
Sarah shall have a son. But how, if Sarah be past age? Why, still the promise
continues to say, Sarah shall have a son. But how, if Sarah be barren? Why,
still the promise says, Sarah shall have a son. But Abraham's body is now dead?
Why, the promise is still the same, Sarah shall have a son. Thus, you see what
virtue there is in an absolute promise; it carrieth enough in its own bowels to
accomplish the thing promised, whether there be means or no in us to effect it.
Wherefore, this promise in the text, being an absolute promise, by virtue of it,
not by virtue of ourselves, or by our own inducements, do we come to Jesus
Christ: for so are the words of the text: "All that the Father giveth me shall
come to me."
Therefore is every sincere comer to Jesus Christ called also a child of the
promise. "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise," (Gal
4:28); that is, we are the children that God hath promised to Jesus Christ, and
given to him; yea, the children that Jesus Christ hath promised shall come to
him. "All that the Father giveth me shall come."
4. This word, shall come, engageth Christ to communicate all manner of grace to
those thus given him to make them effectually to come to him. "They shall come;"
that is, not if they will, but if grace, all grace, if power, wisdom, a new
heart, and the Holy Spirit, and all joining together, can make them come. I say,
this word, shall come, being absolute, hath no dependence upon our own will, or
power, or goodness; but it engageth for us even God himself, Christ himself, the
Spirit himself. When God had made that absolute promise to Abraham, that Sarah
"should have a son," Abraham did not at all look at any qualification in
himself, because the promise looked at none; but as God had, by the promise,
absolutely promised him a son; so he considered now not his own body now dead,
nor yet the barrenness of Sarah's womb. "He staggered not at the promise of God
through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully
persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform" (Rom 4:20,21).
He had promised, and had promised absolutely, Sarah shall have a son. Therefore,
Abraham looks that he, to wit, God, must fulfil the condition of it. Neither is
this expectation of Abraham disapproved by the Holy Ghost, but accounted good
and laudable; it being that by which he gave glory to God. The Father, also,
hath given to Christ a certain number of souls for him to save; and he himself
hath said, "They shall come to him." Let the church of God then live in a joyful
expectation of the utmost accomplishment of this promise; for assuredly it shall
be fulfilled, and not one thousandth part of a tittle thereof shall fail. "They
SHALL come to me."
[Second, In particular.] And now, before I go any further, I will more
particularly inquire into the nature of an absolute promise.
1. We call that an absolute promise that is made without any condition; or more
fully thus: That is an absolute promise of God, or of Christ, which maketh over
to this or that man any saving, spiritual blessing, without a condition to be
done on our part for the obtaining thereof. And this we have in hand is such an
one. Let the best Master of Arts on earth show me, if he can, any condition in
this text depending upon any qualification in us, which is not by the same
promise concluded, shall be by the Lord Jesus effected in us.
2. An absolute promise therefore is, as we say, without if or and; that is, it
requireth nothing of us, that itself might be accomplished. It saith not, They
shall, if they will; but they shall: not, they shall, if they use the means;
but, they shall. You may say, that a will and the use of the means is supposed,
though not expressed. But I answer, No, by no means; that is, as a condition of
this promise. If they be at all included in the promise, they are included there
as the fruit of the absolute promise, not as if it expected the qualification to
arise from us. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power" (Psa
110:3). That is another absolute promise. But doth that promise suppose a
willingness in us, as a condition of God's making us willing? They shall be
willing, if they are willing; or, they shall be willing, if they will be
willing. This is ridiculous; there is nothing of this supposed. The promise is
absolute as to us; all that it engageth for its own accomplishment is, the
mighty power of Christ and his faithfulness to accomplish.
3. The difference, therefore, betwixt the absolute and conditional promise is
(1.) They differ in their terms. The absolute promises say, I will, and you
shall: the other, I will, if you will; or, Do this, and thou shalt live (Jer
4:1; 31:31-33; Eze 18:30-32; 36:24-34; Heb 8:7-13; Matt 19:21).
(2.) They differ in their way of communicating of good things to men; the
absolute ones communicate things freely, only of grace; the other, if there be
that qualification in us, that the promise calls for, not else.
(3.) The absolute promises therefore engage God, the other engage us: I mean,
God only, us only.
(4.) Absolute promises must be fulfilled; conditional may, or may not be
fulfilled. The absolute ones must be fulfilled, because of the faithfulness of
God; the other may not, because of the unfaithfulness of men.
(5.) Absolute promises have therefore a sufficiency in themselves to bring about
their own fulfilling; the conditional have not so. The absolute promise is
therefore a big-bellied promise, because it hath in itself a fullness of all
desired things for us; and will, when the time of that promise is come, yield to
us mortals that which will verily save us; yea, and make us capable of answering
of the demands of the promise that is conditional.
4. Wherefore, though there be a real, yea, an eternal difference, in these
things, with others, betwixt the conditional and absolute promise; yet again, in
other respects, there is a blessed harmony betwixt them; as may be seen in these
particulars. The conditional promise calls for repentance, the absolute promise
gives it (Acts 5:31). The conditional promise calls for faith, the absolute
promise gives it (Zeph 3:12; Rom 15:12). The conditional promise calls for a new
heart, the absolute promise gives it (Eze 36:25,26). The conditional promise
calleth for holy obedience, the absolute promise giveth it, or causeth it (Eze
5. And as they harmoniously agree in this, so again the conditional promise
blesseth the man, who by the absolute promise is endued with its fruit. As, for
instance, the absolute promise maketh men upright; and then the conditional
follows, saying, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of
the Lord" (Psa 119:1). The absolute promise giveth to this man the fear of the
Lord; and then the conditional followeth, saying, "Blessed is every one that
feareth the Lord" (Psa 128:1). The absolute promise giveth faith, and then this
conditional follows, saying, "Blessed is she that believed" (Zeph 3:12; Luke
1:45). The absolute promise brings free forgiveness of sins; and then says the
condition, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are
covered" (Rom 4:7). The absolute promise says, that God's elect shall hold out
to the end; then the conditional follows with his blessings, "He that shall
endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (1 Peter 1:4-6; Matt 24:13).
Thus do the promises gloriously serve one another and us, in this their
Now, the promise under consideration is an absolute promise. "All that the
Father giveth me shall come to me."
This promise therefore is, as is said, a big-bellied promise, and hath in itself
all those things to bestow upon us that the conditional calleth for at our
hands. They shall come! Shall they come? Yes, they shall come. But how, if they
want those things, those graces, power, and heart, without which they cannot
come? Why, Shall-come answereth all this, and all things else that may in this
manner be objected. And here I will take the liberty to amplify things.
[Objections to the absoluteness of this promise (the force of SHALL-COME)
Object. 1. But they are dead, dead in trespasses and sins, how shall they then
Answ. Why, Shall-come can raise them from this death. "The hour is coming, and
now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear
shall live." Thus, therefore, is this impediment by Shall-come removed out of
the way. They shall heal, they shall live.
Object. 2. But they are Satan's captives; he takes them captive at his will, and
he is stronger than they: how then can they come?
Answ. Why, Shall-come hath also provided an help for this. Satan had bound that
daughter of Abraham so, that she could by no means lift up herself; but yet
Shall-come set her free both in body and soul. Christ will have them turned from
the power of Satan to God. But what! Must it be, if they turn themselves, or do
something to merit of him to turn them? No, he will do it freely, of his own
good will. Alas! Man, whose soul is possessed by the devil, is turned
whithersoever that governor listeth, is taken captive by him, notwithstanding
its natural powers, at his will; but what will he do? Will he hold him when
Shall-come puts forth itself, will he then let12 him, for coming to Jesus
Christ? No, that cannot be! His power is but the power of a fallen angel, but
Shall-come is the Word of God. Therefore Shall-come must be fulfilled; "and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
There were seven devils in Mary Magdalene, too many for her to get from under
the power of; but when the time was come that Shall-come was to be fulfilled
upon her, they give place, fly from her, and she comes indeed to Jesus Christ,
according as it is written, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me."
The man that was possessed with a legion, (Mark 5), was too much by them
captivated for him by human force to come; yea, had he had, to boot, all the men
under heaven to help him, had he that said, He shall come, withheld his mighty
power: but when this promise was to be fulfilled upon him, then he comes; nor
could all their power hinder his coming. It was also this Shall-come that
preserved him from death; when by these evil spirits he was hurled hither and
thither; and it was by the virtue of Shall-come that at last he was set at
liberty from them, and enabled indeed to come to Christ. "All that the Father
giveth me shall come to me."
Object. 3. They shall, you say; but how if they will not; and, if so, then what
can Shall-come do?
Answ. True, there are some men say, "We are lords; we will come no more unto
thee" (Jer 2:31). But as God says in another case, if they are concerned in
Shall-come to me, they "shall know whose words shall stand, mine or theirs" (Jer
41:28). Here, then, is the case; we must now see who will be the liar, he that
saith, I will not; or he that saith, He shall come to me. You shall come, says
God; I will not come, saith the sinner. Now, as sure as he is concerned in this
Shall-come, God will make that man eat his own words; for I will not, is the
unadvised conclusion of a crazy-headed sinner; but Shall-come was spoken by him
that is of power to perform his word. "Son, go work to-day in my vineyard," said
the Father. But he answered, and said, I will not come. What now? will he be
able to stand to his refusal? will he pursue his desperate denial? No, "he
afterwards repented and went." But how came he by that repentance? Why, it was
wrapped up for him in the absolute promise; and therefore, notwithstanding he
said, "I will not, he afterwards repented and went." By this parable Jesus
Christ sets forth the obstinacy of the sinners of the world, as touching their
coming to him; they will not come, though threatened: yea, though life be
offered them upon condition of coming.
But now, when Shall-come, the absolute promise of God, comes to be fulfilled
upon them, then they come; because by that promise a cure is provided against
the rebellion of their will. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy
power"(Psa 110:3). Thy people, what people? Why, the people that thy Father hath
given thee. The obstinacy and plague that is in the will of that people, shall
be taken away; and they shall be made willing; Shall-come will make them willing
to come to thee.
He that had seen Paul in the midst of his outrages against Christ, his gospel,
and people, would hardly have thought that he would ever have been a follower of
Jesus Christ, especially since he went not against his conscience in his
persecuting of them. He thought verily that he ought to do what he did. But we
may see what Shall-come can do, when it comes to be fulfilled upon the soul of a
rebellious sinner: he was a chosen vessel, given by the Father to the Son; and
now the time being come that Shall-come was to take him in hand, behold, he is
over-mastered, astonished, and with trembling and reverence, in a moment becomes
willing to be obedient to the heavenly call (Acts 9).
And were not they far gone, that you read of, (Acts 2) who had their hands and
hearts in the murder of the Son of God; and to show their resolvedness never to
repent of that horrid fact, said, "His blood be on us and on our children?" But
must their obstinacy rule? Must they be bound to their own ruin, by the
rebellion of their stubborn wills? No, not those of these the Father gave to
Christ; wherefore, at the times appointed, Shall-come breaks in among them; the
absolute promise takes them in hand; and then they come indeed, crying out to
Peter, and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" No
stubbornness of man's will can stand, when God hath absolutely said the
contrary; Shall-come can make them come "as doves to their windows," that had
afore resolved never to come to him.
The Lord spake unto Manasseh, and to his people, by the prophets, but would he
hear? No, he would not. But shall Manasseh come off thus? No, he shall not.
Therefore, he being also one of those whom the Father had given to the Son, and
so falling within the bounds and reach of Shall-come, at last Shall-come takes
him in hand, and then he comes indeed. He comes bowing and bending; he humbles
himself greatly, and made supplication to the Lord, and prayed unto him; and he
was entreated of him, and had mercy upon him (2 Chron 30:10).
The thief upon the cross, at first, did rail with his fellow upon Jesus Christ;
but he was one that the Father had given to him, and, therefore, Shall-come must
handle him and his rebellious will. And behold, so soon as he is dealt withal,
by virtue of that absolute promise, how soon he buckleth, leaves his railing,
falls to supplicating of the Son of God for mercy; "Lord," saith he, "Remember
me when thou comest into thy kingdom" (Matt 27:44; Luke 23:40-42).
Object. 4. They shall come, say you, but how if they be blind, and see not the
way? For some are kept off from Christ, not only by the obstinacy of their will,
but by the blindness of their mind. Now, if they be blind, how shall they come?
Answ. The question is not, Are they blind? But, Are they within the reach and
power of Shall-come? If so, that Christ that said, they shall come, will find
them eyes, or a guide or both, to bring them to himself. "Must is for the king."
If they shall come, they shall come. No impediment shall hinder.
The Thessalonians' darkness did not hinder them from being the children of
light; "I am come," said Christ, "that they which see not might see." And if he
saith, See, ye "blind that have eyes," who shall hinder it? (Eph 5:8; John 9:39;
Isa 29:18; 43:8).
This promise, therefore, is, as I said, a big-bellied promise, having in the
bowels of it, all things that shall occur to the complete fulfilling of itself.
They shall come. But it is objected, that they are blind. Well, Shall-come is
still the same, and continueth to say, "They shall come to me." Therefore he
saith again, "I will bring the blind by a way that they know not, I will lead
them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them,
and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake
them" (Isa 42:16).
Mark, I will bring them, though they be blind; I will bring them by a way they
know not; I will -I will; and therefore "they shall come to me."
Object. 5. But how, if they have exceeded many in sin, and so made themselves
far more abominable? They are the ringleading sinners in the county, the town,
Answ. What then? Shall that hinder the execution of Shall-come? It is not
transgressions, nor sins, nor all their transgressions in all their sins, if
they by the Father are given to Christ to save them, that shall hinder this
promise, that it should not be fulfilled upon them. "In those days, and in that
time," saith the Lord, "the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there
shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found" (Jer 50:20).
Not that they had none, for they abounded in transgression, (2 Chron 33:9; Eze
16:48), but God would pardon, cover, hide, and put them away, by virtue of his
absolute promise, by which they are given to Christ to save them. "And I will
cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I
will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have transgressed against me. And
it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour before all the nations
of the earth, which shall bear all the good that I do unto them; and they shall
fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure
unto it" (Jer 33:8,9).
Object. 6. But how, if they have not faith and repentance? How shall they come
Answ. Why, he that saith, They shall come, shall he not make it good? If they
shall come, they shall come; and he that hath said, they shall come, if faith
and repentance be the way to come, as indeed they are, then faith and repentance
shall be given to them! for Shall-come must be fulfilled on them.
1. Faith shall be given them. "I will also leave in the midst of thee an
afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord." "There
shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in
him shall the Gentiles trust" (Zeph 3:12; Rom 15:12).
2. They shall have repentance. He is exalted to give repentance. "They shall
come weeping, and seeking the Lord their God." And again, "With weeping and
supplication will I lead them" (Acts 5:31; Jer 31:9).
I told you before, that an absolute promise hath all conditional ones in the
belly of it, and also provision to answer all those qualifications, that they
propound to him that seeketh for their benefit. And it must be so; for if
Shall-come be an absolute promise, as indeed it is, then it must be fulfilled
upon every of those concerned therein. I say, it must be fulfilled, if God can
by grace, and his absolute will, fulfil it. Besides, since coming and believing
is all one, according to John 6:35, "He that cometh to me shall never hunger,
and he that believeth on me shall never thirst," then, when he saith they shall
come, it is as much as to say, they shall believe, and consequently repent, to
the saving of the soul.
So then the present want of faith and repentance cannot make this promise of God
of none effect; because that this promise hath in it to give what others call
for and expect. I will give them an heart, I will give them my Spirit, I will
give them repentance, I will give them faith. Mark these words: "If any man be
in Christ, he is a new creature." But how came he to be a "new creature," since
none can create but God? Why, God indeed doth make them "new creatures."
"Behold," saith he, "I make all things new." And hence it follows, even after he
had said they are "new creatures," "and all things are of God;" that is, all
this new creation standeth in the several operations, and special workings of
the Spirit of grace, who is God (2 Cor 5:17,18).
Object. 7. But how shall they escape all those dangerous and damnable opinions,
that, like rocks and quicksands, are in the way in which they are going?
Answ. Indeed this age is an age of errors, if ever there was an age of errors in
the world; but yet the gift of the Father, laid claim to by the Son in the text,
must needs escape them, and in conclusion come to him. There are a company of
Shall-comes in the Bible that doth secure them; not but that they may be
assaulted by them; yea, and also for the time entangled and detained by them
from the Bishop of their souls, but these Shall-comes will break those chains
and fetters, that those given to Christ are entangled in, and they shall come,
because he hath said they shall come to him.
Indeed, errors are like that whore of whom you read in the Proverbs, that
sitteth in her seat in the high places of the city, "to call passengers who go
right on their ways" (Prov 9:13-16). But the persons, as I said, that by the
Father are given to the Son to save them, are, at one time or other, secured by
"shall come to me."
And therefore of such it is said, God will guide them with his eye, with his
counsels, by his Spirit, and that in the way of peace; by the springs of water,
and into all truth (Psa 32:8; 73:24; John 16:13; Luke 1:79; Isa 49:10). So then
he that hath such a guide, and all that the Father giveth to Christ shall have
it, he shall escape those dangers, he shall not err in the way; yea, though he
be a fool, he shall not err therein, (Isa 35:8), for of every such an one it is
said, "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk
ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isa
There were thieves and robbers before Christ's coming, as there are also now;
but, said he, "The sheep did not hear them." And why did they not hear them, but
because they were under the power of Shall-come, that absolute promise, that had
that grace in itself to bestow upon them, as could make them able rightly to
distinguish of voices, "My sheep hear my voice." But how came they to hear it?
Why, to them it is given to know and to hear, and that distinguishingly (John
10:8,16; 5:25; Eph 5:14).
Further, The very plain sentence of the text makes provision against all these
things; for, saith it, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;" that
is, shall not be stopped, or be allured to take up anywhere short of ME, nor
shall they turn aside, to abide with any besides ME.
[Import of the words TO ME.]
"Shall come TO ME." -To me. By these words there is further insinuated, though
not expressed, a double cause of their coming to him. First. There is in Christ
a fullness of all-sufficiency of that, even of all that which is needful to make
us happy. Second. Those that indeed come to him, do therefore come to him that
they may receive it at his hand.
First. For the first of these, there is in Christ a fullness of all-sufficiency
of all that, even of all that which is needful to make us happy. Hence it is
said, "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell" (Col
1:19). And again, "Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace"
(John 1:16). It is also said of him, that his riches are unsearchable -"the
unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8). Hear what he saith of himself, "Riches
and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is
better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead
in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may
cause those that love me to inherit substance. And I will fill their treasures"
This in general. But, more particularly,
1. There is that light in Christ, that is sufficient to lead them out of, and
from all that darkness, in the midst of which all others, but them that come to
him, stumble, and fall and perish: "I am the light of the world," saith he, "he
that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life"
(John 8:12). Man by nature is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knows
not whither he goes, for darkness hath blinded his eyes; neither can anything
but Jesus Christ lead men out of this darkness. Natural conscience cannot do it;
the ten commandments, though in the heart of man, cannot do it. This prerogative
belongs only to Jesus Christ.
2. There is that life in Christ, that is to be found nowhere else (John 5:40).
Life, as a principle in the soul, by which it shall be acted and enabled to do
that which through him is pleasing to God. "He that believeth in," or cometh to,
"me," saith he, as the Scripture hath said, "out of his belly shall flow rivers
of living water" (John 7:38). Without this life a man is dead, whether he be
bad, or whether he be good; that is, good in his own, and other men's esteem.
There is no true and eternal life but what is in the ME that speaketh in the
There is also life for those that come to him, to be had by faith in his flesh
and blood. "He that eateth me, even he shall live by me" (John 6:57). And this
is a life against that death that comes by the guilt of sin, and the curse of
the law, under which all men are, and for ever must be, unless they eat the ME
that speaks in the text. "Whoso findeth ME," saith he, "findeth life;"
deliverance from that everlasting death and destruction, that, without me, he
shall be devoured by (Prov 8:35). Nothing is more desirable than life, to him
that hath in himself the sentence of condemnation; and here only is life to be
found. This life, to wit, eternal life, this life is in his Son; that is, in him
that saith in the text, "All that the Father hath given me shall come to me" (1
3. The person speaking in the text, is he alone by whom poor sinners have
admittance to, and acceptance with the Father, because of the glory of his
righteousness, by and in which he presenteth them amiable and spotless in his
sight; neither is there any way besides him so to come to the Father: "I am the
way," says he, "and the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by
me" (John 14:6). All other ways to God are dead and damnable; the destroying
cherubim stand with flaming swords, turning every way to keep all others from
his presence (Gen 3:24). I say, all others but them that come by him. "I am the
door; by me," saith he, "if any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John 10:9).
The person speaking in the text is HE, and only HE, that can give stable and
everlasting peace; therefore, saith he, "My peace I give unto you." My peace,
which is a peace with God, peace of conscience, and that of an everlasting
duration. My peace, peace that cannot be matched, "not as the world giveth, give
I unto you;" for the world's peace is but carnal and transitory, but mine is
Divine and eternal. Hence it is called the peace of God, and that passeth all
4. The person speaking in the text hath enough of all things truly spiritually
good, to satisfy the desires of every longing soul. "Jesus stood and cried,
saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." And to him that is
athirst, "I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely" (John 7:37,
5. With the person speaking in the text is power to perfect and defend, and
deliver those that come to him for safe-guard. "All power," saith he, "is given
unto me in heaven and earth" (Matt 28:18).
Thus might I multiply instances in this nature in abundance. But,
Second. They that in truth do come to him, do therefore come to him that they
might receive it at his hand. They come for light, they come for life, they come
for reconciliation with God: they also come for peace, they come that their soul
may be satisfied with spiritual good, and that they may be protected by him
against all spiritual and eternal damnation; and he alone is able to give them
all this, to the filling of their joy to the full, as they also find when they
come to him. This is evident,
1. From the plain declaration of those that already are come to him. "Being
justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice
in hope of the glory of God" (Rom 5:1,2).
2. It is evident also, in that while they keep their eyes upon him, they never
desire to change him for another, or to add to themselves some other thing,
together with him, to make up their spiritual joy. "God forbid," saith Paul,
"that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." "Yea,
doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do
count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine
own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of
Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil 3:8,9).
3. It is evident also, by their earnest desires that others might be made
partakers of their blessedness. "Brethren," said Paul, "my heart's desire and
prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." That is, that way that
he expected to be saved himself. As he saith also to the Galatians, "Brethren,"
saith he, "I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are;" that is, I am a
sinner as you are. Now, I beseech you, seek for life, as I am seeking of it; as
who should say, For there is a sufficiency in the Lord Jesus both for me and
4. It is evident also, by the triumph that such men make over all their enemies,
both bodily and ghostly: "Now thanks be unto God," said Paul, "which always
causeth us to triumph in Christ." And, "who shall separate us from the love of
Christ" our Lord? and again, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy
victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (2
Cor 2:14; Rom 8:35; 1 Cor 15:55,56).
5. It is evident also, for that they are made by the glory of that which they
have found in him, to suffer and endure what the devil and hell itself hath or
could invent, as a means to separate them from him. Again, "Who shall separate
us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? as it is written, For thy sake we are
killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in
all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I
am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any
other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8:35-39).
"Shall come TO ME." Oh! the heart-attracting glory that is in Jesus Christ, when
he is discovered, to draw those to him that are given to him of the Father;
therefore those that came of old, rendered this as the cause of their coming to
him: "And we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father" (John
1:14). And the reason why others come not, but perish in their sins, is for want
of a sight of his glory: "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not,
lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should
shine unto them" (2 Cor 4:3,4).
There is therefore heart-pulling glory in Jesus Christ, which, when discovered,
draws the man to him; wherefore by shall come to me, Christ may mean, when his
glory is discovered, then they must come, then they shall come to me. Therefore,
as the true comers come with weeping and relenting, as being sensible of their
own vileness, so again it is said, that "the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall
obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." That is, at
the sight of the glory of that grace that shows itself to them now in the face
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the hopes that they now have of being with him
in the heavenly tabernacles. Therefore it saith again, "With gladness and
rejoicing shall they be brought; they shall enter into the King's palace" (Isa
35:10; 51:11; Psa 45:15). There is therefore heart-attracting glory in the Lord
Jesus Christ, which, when discovered, subjects the heart to the Word, and makes
us come to him.
It is said of Abraham, that when he dwelt in Mesopotamia, "the God of glory
appeared unto him," saying, "Get thee out of thy country." And what then? Why,
away he went from his house and friends, and all the world could not stay him.
"Now," as the Psalmist says, "Who is this King of glory?" he answers, "The Lord,
mighty in battle" (Psa 24:8). And who was that, but he that "spoiled
principalities and powers," when he did hang upon the tree, triumphing over them
thereon? And who was that but Jesus Christ, even the person speaking in the
text? Therefore he said of Abraham, "He saw his day. Yea," saith he to the Jews,
"your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad" (Col
2:15; James 2:23; John 8:56).
Indeed, the carnal man says, at least in his heart, "There is no form or
comeliness in Christ; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we
should desire him," (Isa 53:2); but he lies. This he speaks, as having never
seen him. But they that stand in his house, and look upon him through the glass
of his Word, by the help of his Holy Spirit, they will tell you other things.
"But we all," say they, "with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of
the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor 3:18).
They see glory in his person, glory in his undertakings, glory in the merit of
his blood, and glory in the perfection of his righteousness; yea,
heart-affecting, heart-sweetening, and heart-changing glory!
Indeed, his glory is veiled, and cannot be seen but as discovered by the Father
(Matt 11:27). It is veiled with flesh, with meanness of descent from the flesh,
and with that ignominy and shame that attended him in the flesh; but they that
can, in God's light, see through these things, they shall see glory in him; yea,
such glory as will draw and pull their hearts unto him.
Moses was the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter; and for aught I know, had been
king at last, had he now conformed to the present vanities that were there at
court; but he could not, he would not do it. Why? What was the matter? Why! he
saw more in the worst of Christ (bear with the expression), than he saw in the
best of all the treasures of the land of Egypt. He "refused to be called the son
of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of
God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of
Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the
recompence of the reward. He forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king."
But what emboldened him thus to do? Why, "he endured;" for he had a sight of the
person speaking in the text. "He endured, as seeing him who is invisible." But I
say, would a sight of Jesus have thus taken away Moses' heart from a crown, and
a kingdom, &c., had he not by that sight seen more in him than was to be seen in
them? (Heb 11:24-26).
Therefore, when he saith, shall come to me, he means, they shall have a
discovery of the glory of the grace that is in him; and the beauty and glory of
that is of such virtue, that it constraineth, and forceth, with a blessed
violency, the hearts of those that are given to him.
Moses, of whom we spake before, was no child when he was thus taken with the
beauteous glory of his Lord. He was forty years old, and so consequently was
able, being a man of that wisdom and opportunity as he was, to make the best
judgment of the things, and of the goodness of them that was before him in the
land of Egypt. But he, even he it was, that set that low esteem upon the glory
of Egypt, as to count it not worth the meddling with, when he had a sight of
this Lord Jesus Christ. This wicked world thinks, that the fancies of a heaven,
and a happiness hereafter, may serve well enough to take the heart of such, as
either have not the world's good things to delight in; or that are fools, and
know not how to delight themselves therein. But let them know again, that we
have had men of all ranks and qualities, that have been taken with the glory of
our Lord Jesus, and have left all to follow him. As Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon; and who not, that had
either wit or grace, to savour heavenly things? Indeed none can stand off from
him, nor any longer hold out against him to whom he reveals the glory of his
[THE PROMISE TO THOSE COMING TO CHRIST.]
"AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I will in no wise cast out."
By these words our Lord Jesus doth set forth yet more amply the great goodness
of his nature towards the coming sinner. Before, he said, They shall come; and
here he declareth, That with heart and affections he will receive them. But, by
the way, let me speak one word or two to the seeming conditionality of this
promise with which now I have to do. "And him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out." Where it is evident, may some say, that Christ's receiving us to
mercy depends upon our coming, and so our salvation by Christ is conditional. If
we come, we shall be received; if not, we shall not; for that is fully intimated
by the words. The promise of reception is only to him that cometh. "And him that
cometh." I answer, that the coming in these words mentioned, as a condition of
being received to life, is that which is promised, yea, concluded to be effected
in us by the promise going before. In those latter words, coming to Christ is
implicitly required of us; and in the words before, that grace that can make us
come is positively promised to us. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to
me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" thence. We come to
Christ, because it is said, We shall come; because it is given to us to come. So
that the condition which is expressed by Christ in these latter words is
absolutely promised in the words before. And, indeed, the coming here intended
is nothing else but the effect of "shall come to me. They shall come, and I will
not cast them out."
COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST: Part Three
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