COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST
Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may arise from the hideous
roaring of the devil, who pursues thee. He that hears him roar, must be a mighty
Christian, if he can at that time deliver himself from fear. He is called a
roaring lion; and then to allude to that in Isaiah, "If one look" into them,
they have "darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens
thereof" (1 Peter 5:8; Isa 5:3).
[Two of the devil's objections.] -There are two things among many that Satan
useth to roar out after them that are coming to Jesus Christ. 1. That they are
not elected. Or, 2. That they have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost. To
both these I answer briefly -
1. [Election.] -Touching election, out of which thou fearest thou art excluded.
Why, coming sinner, even the text itself affordeth thee help against this doubt,
and that by a double argument.
(1.) That coming to Christ is by virtue of the gift, promise, and drawing of the
Father; but thou art a-coming; therefore God hath given thee, promised thee, and
is drawing thee to Jesus Christ. Coming sinner, hold to this; and when Satan
beginneth to roar again, answer, But I feel my heart moving after Jesus Christ;
but that would not be, if it were not given by promise, and drawing to Christ by
the power of the Father.
(2.) Jesus Christ hath promised, "That him that cometh to him he will in no wise
cast out." And if he hath said it, will he not make it good, I mean even thy
salvation? For, as I have said already, not to cast out, is to receive and admit
to the benefit of salvation. If then the Father hath given thee, as is manifest
by thy coming; and if Christ will receive thee, thou coming soul, as it is plain
he will, because he hath said, "He will in no wise cast out;" then be confident,
and let those conclusions, that as naturally flow from the text as light from
the sun, or water from the fountain, stay thee.
If Satan therefore objecteth, But thou art not elected; answer, But I am coming,
Satan, I am coming; and that I could not be, but that the Father draws me; and I
am coming to such a Lord Jesus, as will in no wise cast me out. Further, Satan,
were I not elect, the Father would not draw me, nor would the Son so graciously
open his bosom to me. I am persuaded, that not one of the nonelect shall ever be
able to say, no, not in the day of judgment, I did sincerely come to Jesus
Christ. Come they may, feignedly, as Judas and Simon Magus did; but that is not
our question. Therefore, O thou honest-hearted coming sinner, be not afraid, but
2. [Of the sin against the Holy Ghost.] -As to the second part of the objection,
about sinning the sin against the Holy Ghost, the same argument overthrows that
also. But I will argue thus:
(1.) Coming to Christ is by virtue of a special gift of the Father; but the
Father giveth no such gift to them that have sinned that sin; therefore thou
that art coming hast not committed that sin. That the Father giveth no such gift
to them that have sinned that sin is evident -(a.) Because such have sinned
themselves out of God's favour; "They shall never have forgiveness" (Matt
12:32). But it is a special favour of God to give unto a man, to come to Jesus
Christ; because thereby he obtaineth forgiveness. Therefore he that cometh hath
not sinned that sin. (b.) They that have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost,
have sinned themselves out of an interest in the sacrifice of Christ's body and
blood; "There remaineth [for such] no more sacrifice for sins" (Heb 10:26). But
God giveth not grace to any of them to come to Christ, that have no share in the
sacrifice of his body and blood. Therefore, thou that art coming to him, hast
not sinned that sin.
(2.) Coming to Christ is by the special drawing of the Father; "No man can come
to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). But the Father
draweth not him to Christ, for whom he hath not allotted forgiveness by his
blood; therefore they that are coming to Jesus Christ have not committed that
sin, because he hath allotted them forgiveness by his blood. That the Father
cannot draw them to Jesus Christ, for whom he hath not allotted forgiveness of
sins, is manifest to sense: for that would be a plain mockery, a flam, 17
neither becoming his wisdom, justice, holiness, nor goodness.
(3.) Coming to Jesus Christ lays a man under the promise of forgiveness and
salvation. But it is impossible that he that hath sinned that sin should ever be
put under a promise of these. Therefore, he that hath sinned that sin can never
have heart to come to Jesus Christ.
(4.) Coming to Jesus Christ lays a man under his intercession. "For he ever
liveth to make intercession for them that come" (Heb 7:25). Therefore, he that
is coming to Jesus Christ cannot have sinned that sin. Christ has forbidden his
people to pray for them that have sinned that sin; and, therefore, will not pray
for them himself, but he prays for them that come.
(5.) He that hath sinned that sin, Christ is to him of no more worth than is a
man that is dead; "For he hath crucified to himself the Son of God;" yea, and
hath also counted his precious blood as the blood of an unholy thing. (Heb 6,
10) Now, he that hath this low esteem of Christ will never come to him for life;
but the coming man has an high esteem of his person, blood, and merits.
Therefore, he that is coming has not committed that sin.
(6.) If he that has sinned this sin might yet come to Jesus Christ, then must
the truth of God be overthrown; which saith in one place, "He hath never
forgiveness;" and in another, "I will in no wise cast him out." Therefore, that
he may never have forgiveness, he shall never have heart to come to Jesus
Christ. It is impossible that such an one should be renewed, either to or by
repentance (Heb 6). Wherefore, never trouble thy head nor heart about this
matter; he that cometh to Jesus Christ cannot have sinned against the Holy
Sixth, Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may arise from thine own
folly, in inventing, yea, in thy chalking out to God, a way to bring thee home
to Jesus Christ. Some souls that are coming to Jesus Christ are great tormentors
of themselves upon this account; they conclude, that if their coming to Jesus
Christ is right, they must needs be brought home thus and thus.
As to instance: 1. Says one, If God be bringing of me to Jesus Christ, then will
he load me with the guilt of sin till he makes me roar again. 2. If God be
indeed a-bringing me home to Jesus Christ, then must I be assaulted with
dreadful temptations of the devil. 3. If God be indeed a-bringing me to Jesus
Christ, then, even when I come at him, I shall have wonderful revelations of
This is the way that some sinners appoint for God; but, perhaps, he will not
walk therein; yet will he bring them to Jesus Christ. But now, because they come
not the way of their own chalking out, therefore they are at a loss. They look
for heavy load and burden; but, perhaps, God gives them a sight of their lost
condition, and addeth not that heavy weight and burden. They look for fearful
temptations of Satan; but God sees that yet they are not fit for them, nor is
the time come that he should be honoured by them in such a condition. They look
for great and glorious revelations of Christ, grace, and mercy; but, perhaps,
God only takes the yoke from off their jaws, and lays meat before them. And now
again they are at a loss, yet a-coming to Jesus Christ; "I drew them," saith
God, "with cords of a man, with bands of love - I took the yoke from off their
jaws, and laid meat unto them" (Hosea 11:4).
Now, I say, If God brings thee to Christ, and not by the way that thou hast
appointed, then thou art at a loss; and for thy being at a loss, thou mayest
thank thyself. God hath more ways than thou knowest of to bring a sinner to
Jesus Christ; but he will not give thee beforehand an account by which of them
he will bring thee to Christ (Isa 40:13; Job 33:13). Sometimes he hath his ways
in the whirlwind; but sometimes the Lord is not there (Nahum 1:3; 1 Kings
19:11). If God will deal more gently with thee than with others of his children,
grudge not at it; refuse not the waters that go softly, lest he bring upon thee
the waters of the rivers, strong and many, even these two smoking firebrand, the
devil and guilt of sin (Isa 8:6,7). He saith to Peter, "Follow me." And what
thunder did Zaccheus hear or see? Zaccheus, "Come down," said Christ; "and he
came down," says Luke, "and received him joyfully."
But had Peter or Zaccheus made the objection that thou hast made, and directed
the Spirit of the Lord as thou hast done, they might have looked long enough
before they had found themselves coming to Jesus Christ. Besides, I will tell
thee, that the greatness of sense of sin, the hideous roaring of the devil, yea,
and abundance of revelations, will not prove that God is bringing thy soul to
Jesus Christ; as Balaam, Cain, Judas, and others, can witness.
Further, consider that what thou hast not of these things here, thou mayest have
another time, and that to thy distraction. Wherefore, instead of being
discontent, because thou art not in the fire, because thou hearest not the sound
of the trumpet and alarm of war, "Pray that thou enter not into temptation;"
yea, come boldly to the throne of grace, and obtain mercy, and find grace to
help in that time of need (Psa 88:15; Matt 26:41; Heb 4:16).
Poor creature! thou criest, if I were tempted, I could come faster and with more
confidence to Christ. Thou sayest thou knowest not what. What says Job?
"Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid. Then
call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me" (Job
13:21,22). It is not the overheavy load of sin, but the discovery of mercy; not
the roaring of the devil, but the drawing of the Father, that makes a man come
to Jesus Christ; I myself know all these things.
True, sometimes, yea, most an end, 18 they that come to Jesus Christ come the
way that thou desirest; the loading, tempted way; but the Lord also leads some
by the waters of comfort. If I was to choose when to go a long journey, to wit,
whether I would go it in the dead of winter or in the pleasant spring, though,
if it was a very profitable journey, as that of coming to Christ is, I would
choose to go it through fire and water before I would choose lose the benefit.
But, I say, if I might choose the time, I would choose to go it in the pleasant
spring, because the way would be more delightsome, the days longer and warmer,
the nights shorter and not so cold. And it is observable, that that very
argument that thou usest to weaken thy strength in the way, that very argument
Christ Jesus useth to encourage his beloved to come to him: "Rise up," saith he,
"my love, my fair one, and come away." Why? "For lo, the winter is past, the
rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing
of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree
putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good
smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away" (Song 2:10-13).
Trouble not thyself, coming sinner. If thou seest thy lost condition by original
and actual sin; if thou seest thy need of the spotless righteousness of Jesus
Christ; if thou art willing to be found in him, and to take up thy cross and
follow him; then pray for a fair wind and good weather, and come away. Stick no
longer in a muse and doubt about things, but come away to Jesus Christ. Do it, I
say, lest thou tempt God to lay the sorrows of a travailing woman upon thee. Thy
folly in this thing may make him do it. Mind what follows: "The sorrows of a
travailing woman shall come upon him." Why? "He is an unwise son; for he should
not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children" (Hosea 13:13).
Seventh, Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may arise from those decays
that thou findest in thy soul, even while thou art coming to him. Some, even as
they are coming to Jesus Christ, do find themselves grow worse and worse; and
this is indeed a sore trial to the poor coming sinner.
[Fears that we do not run fast enough.]
To explain myself. There is such an one a coming to Jesus Christ who, when at
first he began to look out after him, was sensible, affectionate, and broken in
spirit; but now is grown dark, senseless, hard-hearted, and inclining to neglect
spiritual duties, &c. Besides, he now finds in himself inclinations to unbelief,
atheism, blasphemy, and the like; now he finds he cannot tremble at God's Word,
his judgment, nor at the apprehension of hell fire; neither can he, as he
thinketh, be sorry for these things. Now, this is a sad dispensation. The man
under the sixth head complaineth for want of temptations, but thou hast enough
of them; art thou glad of them, tempted, coming sinner? They that never were
exercised with them may think it a fine thing to be within the range, but he
that is there is ready to sweat blood for sorrow of heart, and to howl for
vexation of spirit! This man is in the wilderness among wild beasts. Here he
sees a bear, there a lion, yonder a leopard, a wolf, a dragon; devils of all
sorts, doubts of all sorts, fears of all sorts, haunt and molest his soul. Here
he sees smoke, yea, feels fire and brimstone, scattered upon his secret places.
He hears the sound of an horrible tempest. O! my friends, even the Lord Jesus,
that knew all things, even he saw no pleasure in temptations, nor did he desire
to be with them; wherefore, one text saith, "he was led," and another, "he was
driven," of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil (Matt
4:1; Mark 1:12).
But to return. Thus it happeneth sometimes to them that are coming to Jesus
Christ. A sad hap indeed! One would think that he that is flying from wrath to
come has little need of such clogs as these. And yet so it is, and woeful
experience proves it. The church of old complained that her enemies overtook her
between the straits; just between hope and fear, heaven and hell (Lam 1).
This man feeleth the infirmity of his flesh, he findeth a proneness in himself
to be desperate. Now, he chides with God, flings and tumbles like a wild bull in
a net, and still the guilt of all returns upon himself, to the crushing of him
to pieces. Yet he feeleth his heart so hard, that he can find, as he thinks, no
kind falling under any of his miscarriages. Now, he is a lump of confusion in
his own eyes, whose spirit and actions are without order.
Temptations serve the Christian as the shepherd's dog serveth the silly sheep;
that is, coming behind the flock, he runs upon it, pulls it down, worries it,
wounds it, and grievously bedabbleth it with dirt and wet, in the lowest places
of the furrows of the field, and not leaving it until it is half dead, nor then
neither, except God rebuke.
Here is now room for fears of being cast away. Now I see I am lost, says the
sinner. This is not coming to Jesus Christ, says the sinner; such a desperate,
hard, and wretched heart as mine is, cannot be a gracious one, saith the sinner.
And bid such an one be better, he says, I cannot; no, I cannot.
[Why temptations assail God's people.]
Quest. But what will you say to a soul in this condition?
Answ. I will say, That temptations have attended the best of God's people. I
will say, That temptations come to do us good; and I will say also, That there
is a difference betwixt growing worse and worse, and thy seeing more clearly how
bad thou art.
There is a man of an ill-favoured countenance, who hath too high a conceit of
his beauty; and, wanting the benefit of a glass, he still stands in his own
conceit; at last a limner is sent unto him, who draweth his ill-favoured face to
the life; now looking thereon, he begins to be convinced that he is not half so
handsome as he thought he was. Coming sinner, thy temptations are these
painters; they have drawn out thy ill-favoured heart to the life, and have set
it before thine eyes, and now thou seest how ill-favoured thou art. Hezekiah was
a good man, yet when he lay sick, for aught I know, he had somewhat too good an
opinion of his heart; and for aught I know also, the Lord might, upon his
recovery, leave him to a temptation, that he might better know all that was in
his heart. Compare Isaiah 38:1-3, with 2 Chronicles 32:31.
Alas! we are sinful out of measure, but see it not to be the full, until an hour
of temptation comes. But when it comes, it doth as the painter doth, draweth out
our heart to the life: yet the sight of what we are should not keep us from
coming to Jesus Christ. There are two ways by which God lets a man into a sight
of the naughtiness of his heart; one is, by the light of the Word and Spirit of
God; and the other is, by the temptations of the devil. But, by the first, we
see our naughtiness one way; and, by the second, another. By the light of the
Word and Spirit of God, thou hast a sight of thy naughtiness; and by the light
of the sun, thou hast a sight of the spots and defilements that are in thy house
or raiment. Which light gives thee to see a necessity of cleansing, but maketh
not the blemishes to spread more abominably. But when Satan comes, when he
tempts, he puts life and rage into our sins, and turns them, as it were, into so
many devils within us. Now, like prisoners, they attempt to break through the
prison of our body; they will attempt to get out at our eyes, mouth, ears, any
ways, to the scandal of the gospel, and reproach of religion, to the darkening
of our evidences, and damning of our souls.
But I shall say, as I said before, this hath ofttimes been the lot of God's
people. And, "There hath no temptation overtaken you but such as is common to
man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye
are able" (1 Cor 10:13). See the Book of Job, the Book of Psalms, and that of
the Lamentations. And remember further, that Christ himself was tempted to
blaspheme, to worship the devil, and to murder himself, (Matt 4; Luke 4);
temptations worse than which thou canst hardly be overtaken with. But he was
sinless, that is true. And he is thy Saviour, and that is as true! Yea, it is as
true also, that by his being tempted, he became the conqueror of the tempter,
and a succourer of those that are tempted (Col 2:14,15; Heb 2:15; 4:15,16).
Quest. But what should be the reason that some that are coming to Christ should
be so lamentably cast down and buffeted with temptations?
Answ. It may be for several causes.
1. Some that are coming to Christ cannot be persuaded, until the temptation
comes, that they are so vile as the Scripture saith they are. True, they see so
much of their wretchedness as to drive them to Christ. But there is an over and
above of wickedness which they see not. Peter little thought that he had had
cursing, and swearing, and lying, and an inclination in his heart to deny his
Master, before the temptation came; but when that indeed came upon him, then he
found it there to his sorrow (John 13:36-38; Mark 14:36-40; 68-72).
2. Some that are coming to Jesus Christ are too much affected with their own
graces, and too little taken with Christ's person; wherefore God, to take them
off from doting upon their own jewels, and that they might look more to the
person, undertaking, and merits of his Son, plunges them into the ditch by
temptations. And this I take to be the meaning of Job, "If I wash myself," said
he, "with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me
in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me" (Job 9:30). Job had been a
little too much tampering with his own graces, and setting his excellencies a
little too high; as these texts make manifest: Job 33:8-13, 34:5-10, 35:2,3,
38:1,2, 40:105, 42:3-6. But by that the temptations were ended, you find him
Yea, God doth ofttimes, even for this thing, as it were, take our graces from
us, and so leave us almost quite to ourselves and to the tempter, that we may
learn not to love the picture more than the person of his Son. See how he dealt
with them in the 16th of Ezekiel, and the second of Hosea.
3. Perhaps thou hast been given too much to judge thy brother, to condemn thy
brother, because a poor tempted man. And God, to bring down the pride of thy
heart, letteth the tempter loose upon thee, that thou also mayst feel thyself
weak. For "pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall"
4. It may be thou hast dealt a little too roughly with those that God hath this
way wounded, not considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. And therefore
God hath suffered it to come unto thee (Gal 6:1).
5. It may be thou wast given to slumber and sleep, and therefore these
temptations were sent to awake thee. You know that Peter's temptation came upon
him after his sleeping; then, instead of watching and praying, then he denied,
and denied, and denied his Master (Matt 26).
6. It may be thou hast presumed too far, and stood too much in thine own
strength, and therefore is a time of temptation come upon thee. This was also
one cause why it came upon Peter -Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I.
Ah! that is the way to be tempted indeed (John 13:36-38).
7. It may be God intends to make thee wise, to speak a word in season to others
that are afflicted; and therefore he suffereth thee to be tempted. Christ was
tempted that he might be able to succour them that are tempted (Heb 2:18).
8. It may be Satan hath dared God to suffer him to tempt thee; promising
himself, that if he will but let him do it, thou wilt curse him to his face.
Thus he obtained leave against Job; wherefore take heed, tempted soul, lest thou
provest the devil's sayings true (Job 1:11).
9. It may be thy graces must be tried in the fire, that that rust that cleaveth
to them may be taken away, and themselves proved, both before angels and devils,
to be far better than of gold that perisheth; it may be also, that thy graces
are to receive special praises, and honour, and glory, at the coming of the Lord
Jesus to judgment, for all the exploits that thou hast acted by them against
hell, and its infernal crew, in the day of thy temptation (1 Peter 1:6,7).
10. It may be God would have others learn by thy sighs, groans, and complaints,
under temptation, to beware of those sins for the sake of which thou art at
present delivered to the tormentors.
But to conclude this, put the worst to the worst -and then things will be bad
enough -suppose that thou art to this day without the grace of God, yet thou art
but a miserable creature, a sinner, that hath need of a blessed Saviour; and the
text presents thee with one as good and kind as heart can wish; who also for thy
encouragement saith, "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
[Application of Observation Second.]
To come, therefore, to a word of application. Is it so, that they that are
coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily afraid that Jesus Christ will not
receive them? Then this teacheth us these things -
1. That faith and doubting may at the same time have their residence in the same
soul. "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matt 14:31). He
saith not, O thou of no faith! but, O thou of little faith! because he had a
little faith in the midst of his many doubts. The same is true even of many that
are coming to Jesus Christ. They come, and fear they come not, and doubt they
come not. When they look upon the promise, or a word of encouragement by faith,
then they come; but when they look upon themselves, or the difficulties that lie
before them, then they doubt. "Bid me come," said Peter; "Come," said Christ. So
he went down out of the ship to go to Jesus, but his hap was to go to him upon
the water; there was the trial. So it is with the poor desiring soul. Bid me
come, says the sinner; Come, says Christ, and I will in no wise cast thee out.
So he comes, but his hap is to come upon the water, upon drowning difficulties;
if, therefore, the wind of temptations blow, the waves of doubts and fears will
presently arise, and this coming sinner will begin to sink, if he has but little
faith. But you shall find here in Peter's little faith, a twofold act; to wit,
coming and crying. Little faith cannot come all the way without crying. So long
as its holy boldness lasts, so long it can come with peace; but when it is so,
it can come no further, it will go the rest of the way with crying. Peter went
as far as his little faith would carry him: he also cried as far as his little
faith would help, "Lord, save me, I perish!" And so with coming and crying he
was kept from sinking, though he had but a little faith. "Jesus stretched forth
his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore
didst thou doubt?"
2. Is it so, that they that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily
afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive them? Then this shows us a reason of
that dejection, and those castings down, that very often we perceive to be in
them that are coming to Jesus Christ. Why, it is because they are afraid that
Jesus Christ will not receive them. The poor world they mock us, because we are
a dejected people; I mean, because we are sometimes so: but they do not know the
cause of our dejection. Could we be persuaded, even then, when we are dejected,
that Jesus Christ would indeed receive us, it would make us fly over their
heads, and would put more gladness into our hearts than in the time in which
their corn, wine, and oil increases (Psa 4:6,7). But,
3. It is so, That they that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily
afraid that he will not receive them. Then this shows that they that are coming
to Jesus Christ are an awakened, sensible, considering people. For fear cometh
from sense, and consideration of things. They are sensible of sin, sensible of
the curse due thereto; they are also sensible of the glorious majesty of God,
and of what a blessed, blessed thing it is to be received of Jesus Christ. The
glory of heaven, and the evil of sin, these things they consider, and are
sensible of. "When I remember, I am afraid." "When I consider, I am afraid" (Job
These things dash their spirits, being awake and sensible. Were they dead, like
other men, they would not be afflicted with fear as they are. For dead men fear
not, feel not, care not, but the living and sensible man, he it is that is
ofttimes heartily afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive him. I say, the dead
and senseless are not distressed. They presume; they are groundlessly confident.
Who so bold as blind Bayard? These indeed should fear and be afraid, because
they are not coming to Jesus Christ. O! the hell, the fire, the pit, the wrath
of God, and torment of hell, that are prepared for poor neglecting sinners! "How
shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb 3:3). But they want
sense of things, and so cannot fear.
4. Is it so, that they that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily
afraid that he will not receive them? Then this should teach old Christians to
pity and pray for young comers. You know the heart of a stranger; for you
yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt. You know the fears, and doubts,
and terrors, that take hold of them; for that they sometimes took hold of you.
Wherefore pity them, pray for them, encourage them; they need all this: guilt
hath overtaken them, fears of the wrath of God hath overtaken them. Perhaps they
are within the sight of hell-fire; and the fear of going thither is burning hot
within their hearts. You may know, how strangely Satan is suggesting his
devilish doubts unto them, if possible he may sink and drown them with the
multitude and weight of them. Old Christians, mend up the path for them, take
the stumblingblocks out of the way; lest that which is feeble and weak be turned
aside, but let it rather be healed (Heb 12).
[CHRIST WOULD HAVE COMERS NOT ONCE THINK THAT HE WILL CAST THEM OUT.]
OBSERVATION THIRD. -I come now to the next observation, and shall speak a little
to that; to wit, That Jesus Christ would not have them, that in truth are coming
to him, once think that he will cast them out.
The text is full of this: for he saith, "And him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out." Now, if he saith, I will not, he would not have us think he
will. This is yet further manifest by these considerations.
First, Christ Jesus did forbid even them that as yet were not coming to him,
once to think him such an one. "Do not think," said he, "that I will accuse you
to the Father" (John 5:45).
These, as I said, were such, that as yet were not coming to him. For he saith of
them a little before, "And ye will not come to me;" for the respect they had to
the honour of men kept them back. Yet, I say, Jesus Christ gives them to
understand, that though he might justly reject them, yet he would not, but bids
them not once to think that he would accuse them to the Father. Now, not to
accuse, with Christ, is to plead for: for Christ in these things stands not
neuter between the Father and sinners. So then, if Jesus Christ would not have
them think, that yet will not come to him, that he will accuse them; then he
would not that they should think so, that in truth are coming to him. "And him
that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Second, When the woman taken in adultery, even in the very act, was brought
before Jesus Christ, he so carried it both by words and actions, that he
evidently enough made it manifest, that condemning and casting out were such
things, for the doing of which he came not into the world. Wherefore, when they
had set her before him, and had laid to her charge her heinous fact, he stooped
down, and with his finger wrote upon the ground, as though he heard them not.
Now what did he do by this his carriage, but testify plainly that he was not for
receiving accusations against poor sinners, whoever accused by? And observe,
though they continue asking, thinking at last to force him to condemn her; yet
then he so answered, so that he drove all condemning persons from her. And then
he adds, for her encouragement to come to him; "Neither do I condemn thee; go,
and sin no more" (John 8:1-11).
Not but that he indeed abhorred the fact, but he would not condemn the woman for
the sin, because that was not his office. He was not sent "into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17).
Now if Christ, though urged to it, would not condemn the guilty woman, though
she was far at present from coming to him, he would not that they should once
think that he will cast them out, that in truth are coming to him. "And him that
cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Third, Christ plainly bids the turning sinner come; and forbids him to entertain
any such thought as that he will cast him out. "Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he
will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isa
4:7). The Lord, by bidding the unrighteous forsake his thoughts, doth in special
forbid, as I have said, viz., those thoughts that hinder the coming man in his
progress to Jesus Christ, his unbelieving thoughts.
Therefore he bids him not only forsake his ways, but his thoughts. "Let the
wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts." It is not enough
to forsake one if thou wilt come to Jesus Christ; because the other will keep
thee from him. Suppose a man forsakes his wicked ways, his debauched and filthy
life; yet if these thoughts, that Jesus Christ will not receive him, be
entertained and nourished in his heart; these thoughts will keep him from coming
to Jesus Christ.
Sinner, coming sinner, art thou for coming to Jesus Christ? Yes, says the
sinner. Forsake thy wicked ways then. So I do, says the sinner.
Why comest thou then so slowly? Because I am hindered. What hinders? Has God
forbidden thee? No. Art thou not willing to come faster? Yes, yet I cannot.
Well, prithee be plain with me, and tell me the reason and ground of thy
discouragement. Why, says the sinner, though God forbids me not, and though I am
willing to come faster, yet there naturally ariseth this, and that, and the
other thought in my heart, that hinders my speed to Jesus Christ. Sometimes I
think I am not chosen; sometimes I think I am not called; sometimes I think I am
come too late; and sometimes I think I know not what it is to come. Also one
while I think I have no grace; and then again, that I cannot pray; and then
again, I think that I am a very hypocrite. And these things keep me from coming
to Jesus Christ.
Look ye now, did not I tell you so? There are thoughts yet remaining in the
heart, even of those who have forsaken their wicked ways; and with those
thoughts they are more plagued than with anything else; because they hinder
their coming to Jesus Christ; for the sin of unbelief, which is the original of
all these thoughts, is that which besets a coming sinner more easily, than doth
his ways (Heb 12:1-4). But now, since Jesus Christ commands thee to forsake
these thoughts, forsake them, coming sinner; and if thou forsake them not, thou
transgressest the commands of Christ, and abidest thine own tormentor, and
keepest thyself from establishment in grace. "If ye will not believe, surely ye
shall not be established" (Isa 7:9). Thus you see how Jesus Christ setteth
himself against such thoughts, that any way discourage the coming sinner; and
thereby truly vindicates the doctrine we have in hand; to wit, that Jesus Christ
would not have them, that in truth are coming to him, once think that he will
cast them out. "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
[Reasons of Observation Third.]
I come now to the reasons of the observation.
1. If Jesus Christ should allow thee once to think that he will cast thee out,
he must allow thee to think that he will falsify his word; for he hath said, "I
will in no wise cast out." But Christ would not that thou shouldst count him as
one that will falsify his word; for he saith of himself, "I am the truth;"
therefore he would not that any that in truth are coming to him, should once
think that he will cast them out.
2. If Jesus Christ should allow the sinner that in truth is coming to him, once
to think that he will cast him out, then he must allow, and so countenance the
first appearance of unbelief; the which he counteth his greatest enemy, and
against which he hast bent even his holy gospel. Therefore Jesus Christ would
not that they that in truth are coming to him, should once think that he will
cast them out. See Matthew 14:31, 21:21, Mark 11:23, Luke 24:25.
3. If Jesus Christ should allow the coming sinner once to think that he will
cast him out; then he must allow him to make a question,
Whether he is willing to receive his Father's gift; for the coming sinner is his
Father's gift; as also says the text; but he testifieth, "All that the Father
giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast
out." Therefore Jesus Christ would not have him, that in truth is coming to him,
once to think that he will cast him out.
4. If Jesus Christ should allow them once to think, that indeed are coming to
him, that he will cast them out, he must allow them to think that he will
despise and reject the drawing of his Father. For no man can come to him but
whom the Father draweth. But it would be high blasphemy, and damnable wickedness
once to imagine thus. Therefore, Jesus Christ would not have him that cometh
once think that he will cast him out.
5. If Jesus Christ should allow those that indeed are coming to him, once to
think that he will cast them out, he must allow them to think that he will be
unfaithful to the trust and charge that his Father hath committed to him; which
is to save, and not to lose anything of that which he hath given unto him to
save (John 6:39). But the Father hath given him a charge to save the coming
sinner; therefore it cannot be, that he should allow, that such an one should
once think that he will cast him out.
6. If Jesus Christ should allow that they should once think that are coming to
him, that he will cast them out, then he must allow them to think that he will
be unfaithful to his office of priesthood; for, as by the first part of it, he
paid price for, and ransomed souls, so by the second part thereof, he
continually maketh intercession to God for them that come (Heb 7:25). But he
cannot allow us to question his faithful execution of his priesthood. Therefore
he cannot allow us once to think that the coming sinner shall be cast out.
7. If Jesus Christ should allow us once to think that the coming sinner shall be
cast out, then he must allow us to question his will, or power, or merit to
save. But he cannot allow us once to question any of these; therefore not once
to think, that the coming sinner shall be cast out. (1.) He cannot allow them to
question his will; for he saith in the text, "I WILL in no wise cast out." (2.)
He cannot allow us to question his power; for the Holy Ghost saith HE IS ABLE to
save to the uttermost them that come. (3.) He cannot allow them to question the
efficacy of his merit; for the blood of Christ cleanseth the comer from all sin,
(1 John 1:7), therefore he cannot allow that he that is coming to him should
once think that he will cast them out.
8. If Jesus Christ should allow the coming sinner once to think that he will
cast him out, he must allow him to give the lie to the manifest testimony of the
Father, Son, and Spirit; yea, to the whole gospel contained in Moses, the
prophets, the book of Psalms, and that commonly called the New Testament. But he
cannot allow of this; therefore, not that the coming sinner should once think
that he will cast him out.
9. Lastly, If Jesus Christ should allow him that is coming to him, once to think
that he will cast him out, he must allow him to question his Father's oath,
which he in truth and righteousness hath taken, that they might have a strong
consolation, who have fled for refuge to Jesus Christ. But he cannot allow this;
therefore he cannot allow that the coming sinner should once think that he will
cast him out (Heb 6).
[USE AND APPLICATION.]
I come now to make some GENERAL USE AND APPLICATION OF THE WHOLE, and so to draw
towards a conclusion.
USE FIRST. -The first use -A USE OF INFORMATION; and,
First, It informeth us that men by nature are far off from Christ. Let me a
little improve this use, by speaking to these three questions. 1. Where is he
that is coming [but has not come], to Jesus Christ? 2. What is he that is not
coming to Jesus Christ? 3. Whither is he to go that cometh not to Jesus Christ?
1. Where is he?
[Answ.] (1.) He is far from God, he is without him, even alienate from him both
in his understanding, will, affections, judgment, and conscience (Eph 2:12;
4:18). (2.) He is far from Jesus Christ, who is the only deliverer of men from
hell fire (Psa 73:27). (3.) He is far from the work of the Holy Ghost, the work
of regeneration, and a second creation, without which no man shall see the
kingdom of heaven (John 3:3). (4.) He is far more righteous, 19 from that
righteousness that should make him acceptable in God's sight (Isa 46:12,13).
(5.) He is under the power and dominion of sin; sin reigneth in and over him; it
dwelleth in every faculty of his soul, and member of his body; so that from head
to foot there is no place clean (Isa 1:6; Rom 3:9-18). (6.) He is in the
pest-house with Uzziah and excluded the camp of Israel with the lepers (2 Chron
26:21; Num 5:2; Job 36:14). (7.) His "life is among the unclean." He is "in the
gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:28). (8.) He is "in
sin," "in the flesh," "in death," "in the snare of the devil," and is "taken
captive by him at his will" (1 Cor 15:17; Rom 8:8; 1 John 3:14; 2 Tim 2:26).
(9.) He is under the curse of the law, and the devil dwells in him, and hath the
mastery of him (Gal 3:13; Eph 2:2,3; Acts 26:18). (10.) He is in darkness, and
walketh in darkness, and knows not whither he goes; for darkness has blinded his
eyes. (11.) He is in the broad way that leadeth to destruction; and holding on,
he will assuredly go in at the broad gate, and so down the stairs to hell.
2. What is he that cometh not to Jesus Christ?
[Answ.] (1.) He is counted one of God's enemies (Luke 19:14; Rom 8:7). (2.) He
is a child of the devil, and of hell; for the devil begat him, as to his sinful
nature, and hell must swallow him at last, because he cometh not to Jesus Christ
(John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; Matt 23:15; Psa 9:17). (3.) He is a child of wrath, an
heir of it; it is his portion, and God will repay it him to his face (Eph 2:1-3;
Job 21:29-31). (4.) He is a self-murderer; he wrongeth his own soul, and is one
that loveth death (Prov 1:18; 8:36). (5.) He is a companion for devils and
damned men (Prov 21:16; Matt 25:41).
3. Whither is he like to go that cometh not to Jesus Christ?
[Answ.] (1.) He that cometh not to him, is like to go further from him; so every
sin is a step further from Jesus Christ (Hosea 11). (2.) As he is in darkness,
so he is like to go on in it; for Christ is the light of the world, and he that
comes not to him, walketh in darkness (John 8:12). (3.) He is like to be removed
at last as far from God, and Christ, and heaven, and all felicity, as an
infinite God can remove him (Matt 12:41). But,
Second, This doctrine of coming to Christ informeth us where poor destitute
sinners may find life for their souls, and that is in Christ. This life is in
his Son; he that hath the Son, hath life. And again, "Whoso findeth me findeth
life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord" (Prov 8:35). Now, for further
enlargement, I will also here propound three more questions: 1. What life is in
Christ? 2. Who may have it? 3. Upon what terms?
1. What life is in Jesus Christ?
[Answ.] (1.) There is justifying life in Christ. Man by sin is dead in law; and
Christ only can deliver him by his righteousness and blood from this death into
a state of life. "For God sent his Son into the world, that we might live
through him" (1 John 4:9). That is, through the righteousness which he should
accomplish, and the death that he should die. (2.) There is eternal life in
Christ; life that is endless; life for ever and ever. "He hath given us eternal
life, and this life is in his Son" (1 John 5:11). Now, justification and eternal
salvation being both in Christ, and nowhere else to be had for men, who would
not come to Jesus Christ?
2. Who may have this life?
I answer, Poor, helpless, miserable sinners. Particularly, (1.) Such as are
willing to have it. "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life" (Rev
22:17). (2.) He that thirsteth for it. "I will give unto him that is athirst of
the fountain of the water of life" (Rev 21:6). (3.) He that is weary of his
sins. "This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is
the refreshing" (Isa 28:12). (4.) He that is poor and needy. "He shall spare the
poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy" (Psa 72:13). (5.) He that
followeth after him, crieth for life. "He that followeth me shall not walk in
darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
3. Upon what terms may he have this life?
[Answ.] Freely. Sinner, dost thou hear. Thou mayest have it freely. Let him take
the water of life freely. I will give him of the fountain of the water of life
freely. "And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both" (Luke
7:42). Freely, without money, or without price. "Ho! every one that thirsteth,
come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea,
come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isa 55:1). Sinner, art
thou thirsty? art thou weary? art thou willing? Come, then, and regard not your
stuff; for all the good that is in Christ is offered to the coming sinner,
without money and without price. He has life to give away to such as want it,
and that hath not a penny to purchase it; and he will give it freely. Oh what a
blessed condition is the coming sinner in! But,
Third, This doctrine of coming to Jesus Christ for life, informeth us, that it
is to be had nowhere else. Might it be had anywhere else, the text, and him that
spoke it, would be but little set by; for what greater matter is there in "I
will in no wise cast out," if another stood by that could receive them? But here
appears the glory of Christ, that none but he can save. And here appears his
love, that though none can save but he, yet he is not coy in saving. "But him
that comes to me," says he, "I will in no wise cast out."
That none can save but Jesus Christ, is evident from Acts 4:12: "Neither is
there salvation in any other;" and "he hath given to us eternal life, and this
life is in his Son" (1 John 5:11). If life could have been had anywhere else, it
should have been in the law. But it is not in the law; for by the deeds of the
law, no man living shall be justified; and if not justified, then no life.
Therefore life is nowhere to be had but in Jesus Christ (Gal 3).
[Quest.] But why would God so order it, that life should be had nowhere else but
in Jesus Christ?
[Answ.] There is reason for it, and that both with respect to God and us.
1. With respect to God.
(1.) That it might be in a way of justice as well as mercy. And in a way of
justice it could not have been, if it had not been by Christ; because he, and he
only, was able to answer the demand of the law, and give for sin what the
justice thereof required. All angels had been crushed down to hell for ever, had
that curse been laid upon them for our sins, which was laid upon Jesus Christ;
but it was laid upon him, and he bare it; and answered the penalty, and redeemed
his people from under it, with that satisfaction to Divine justice that God
himself doth now proclaim, That he is faithful and just to forgive us, if by
faith we shall venture to Jesus, and trust to what he has done for life (Rom
3:24-26; John 1:4). (2.) Life must be by Jesus Christ, that God might be adored
and magnified, for finding out this way. This is the Lord's doings, that in all
things he might be glorified through Jesus Christ our Lord. (3.) It must be by
Jesus Christ, that life might be at God's dispose, who hath great pity for the
poor, the lowly, the meek, the broken in heart, and for them that others care
not for (Psa 34:6; 138:6; 25; 51:17; 147:3). (4.) Life must be in Christ, to cut
off boasting from the lips of men. This also is the apostle's reason in Romans
3:19,27 (Eph 2:8-10).
2. Life must be in Jesus Christ with respect to us.
(1.) That we might have it upon the easiest terms, to wit, freely: as a gift,
not as wages. Was it in Moses' hand, we should come hardly at it. Was it in the
pope's hand, we should pay soundly for it. 20 But thanks be to God, it is in
Christ, laid up in him, and by him to be communicated to sinners upon easy
terms, even for receiving, accepting, and embracing with thanksgiving; as the
Scriptures plainly declare (John 1:11,12; 2 Cor 11:4; Heb 11:13; Col 3:13-15).
(2.) Life is in Christ FOR US, that it might not be upon so brittle a
foundation, as indeed it would had it been anywhere else. The law itself is weak
because of us, as to this. But Christ is a tried stone, a sure foundation, one
that will not fail to bear thy burden, and to receive thy soul, coming sinner.
(3.) Life is in Christ, that it might be sure to all the seed. Alas! the best of
us, was life left in our hand, to be sure we should forfeit it, over, and over,
and over; or, was it in any other hand, we should, by our often backslidings, so
offend him, that at last he would shut up his bowels in everlasting displeasure
against us. But now it is in Christ, it is with one that can pity, pray for,
pardon, yea, multiply pardons; it is with one that can have compassion upon us,
when we are out of the way; with one that hath an heart to fetch us again, when
we are gone astray; with one that can pardon without upbraiding. Blessed be God,
that life is in Christ! For now it is sure to all the seed. But,
Fourth, This doctrine of coming to Jesus Christ for life informs us of the evil
of unbelief; that wicked thing that is the only or chief hindrance to the coming
sinner. Doth the text say, "Come?" Doth it say, "and him that cometh to me I
will in no wise cast out?" Then what an evil is that that keepeth sinners from
coming to Jesus Christ! And that evil is unbelief: for by faith we come; by
unbelief we keep away. Therefore it is said to be that by which a soul is said
to depart from God; because it was that which at first caused the world to go
off from him, and that also that keeps them from him to this day. And it doth it
the more easily, because it doth it with a wile.
[Of the Sin of Unbelief.] -This sin may be called the white devil, for it
oftentimes, in its mischievous doings in the soul, shows as if it was an angel
of light: yea, it acteth like a counsellor of heaven. Therefore a little to
discourse of this evil disease.
1. It is that sin, above all others, that hath some show of reason in its
attempts. For it keeps the soul from Christ by pretending its present unfitness
and unpreparedness; as want of more sense of sin, want of more repentance, want
of more humility, want of a more broken heart.
2. It is the sin that most suiteth with the conscience: the conscience of the
coming sinner tells him that he hath nothing good; that he stands inditeable for
ten thousand talents; that he is a very ignorant, blind, and hard-hearted
sinner, unworthy to be once taken notice of by Jesus Christ. And will you, says
Unbelief, in such a case as you now are, presume to come to Jesus Christ?
3. It is the sin that most suiteth with our sense of feeling. The coming sinner
feels the workings of sin, of all manner of sin and wretchedness in his flesh;
he also feels the wrath and judgment of God due to sin, and ofttimes staggers
under it. Now, says Unbelief, you may see you have no grace; for that which
works in you is corruption. You may also perceive that God doth not love you,
because the sense of his wrath abides upon you. Therefore, how can you bear the
face to come to Jesus Christ?
4. It is that sin, above all others, that most suiteth with the wisdom of our
flesh. The wisdom of our flesh thinks it prudent to question awhile, to stand
back awhile, to hearken to both sides awhile; and not to be rash, sudden, or
unadvised, in too bold a presuming upon Jesus Christ. And this wisdom unbelief
falls in with.
5. It is that sin, above all other, that continually is whispering the soul in
the ear with mistrusts of the faithfulness of God, in keeping promise to them
that come to Jesus Christ for life. It also suggests mistrust about Christ's
willingness to receive it, and save it. And no sin can do this so artificially
6. It is also that sin which is always at hand to enter an objection against
this or that promise that by the Spirit of God is brought to our heart to
comfort us; and if the poor coming sinner is not aware of it, it will, by some
evasion, slight, trick, or cavil, quickly wrest from him the promise again, and
he shall have but little benefit of it.
7. It is that, above all other sins, that weakness our prayers, our faith, our
love, our diligence, our hope, and expectations: it even taketh the heart away
from God in duty.
8. Lastly, This sin, as I have said even now, it appeareth in the soul with so
many sweet pretences to safety and security, that it is, as it were, counsel
sent from heaven; bidding the soul be wise, wary, considerate, well-advised, and
to take heed of too rash a venture upon believing. Be sure, first, that God
loves you; take hold of no promise until you are forced by God unto it; neither
be you sure of your salvation; doubt it still, though the testimony of the Lord
has been often confirmed in you. Live not by faith, but by sense; and when you
can neither see nor feel, then fear and mistrust, then doubt and question all.
This is the devilish counsel of unbelief, which is so covered over with specious
pretences, that the wisest Christian can hardly shake off these reasonings.
[Qualities of unbelief as opposed to faith.] -But to be brief. Let me here give
thee, Christian reader, a more particular description of the qualities of
unbelief, by opposing faith unto it, in these twenty-five particulars: -
1. Faith believeth the Word of God; but unbelief questioneth the certainty of
the same (Psa 106:24).
2. Faith believeth the Word, because it is true; but unbelief doubteth thereof,
because it is true (1 Tim 4:3; John 8:45).
3. Faith sees more in a promise of God to help, than in all other things to
hinder; but unbelief, notwithstanding God's promise, saith, How can these things
be? (Rom 4:19-21; 2 Kings 7:2; John 3:11,12).
4. Faith will make thee see love in the heart of Christ, when with his mouth he
giveth reproofs; but unbelief will imagine wrath in his heart, when with his
mouth and Word he saith he loves us (Matt 15:22,28; Num 13; 2 Chron 14:3).
5. Faith will help the soul to wait, though God defers to give; but unbelief
will take huff and throw up all, if God makes any tarrying (Psa 25:5; Isa 8:17;
2 Kings 6:33; Psa 106:13,14).
6. Faith will give comfort in the midst of fears; but unbelief causeth fears in
the midst of comfort (2 Chron 20:20,21; Matt 8:26; Luke 24:26,27).
7. Faith will suck sweetness out of God's rod; but unbelief can find no comfort
in his greatest mercies (Psa 23:4; Num 21).
8. Faith maketh great burdens light; but unbelief maketh light ones intolerably
heavy (2 Cor 4:1; 14-18; Mal 1:12,13).
9. Faith helpeth us when we are down; but unbelief throws us down when we are up
(Micah 7:8-10; Heb 4:11).
10. Faith bringeth us near to God when we are far from him; but unbelief puts us
far from God when we are near to him (Heb 10:22; 3:12,13).
11. Where faith reigns, it declareth men to be the friends of God; but where
unbelief reigns, it declareth them to be his enemies (John 3:23; Heb 3:18; Rev
12. Faith putteth a man under grace; but unbelief holdeth him under wrath (Rom
3:24-26; 14:6; Eph 2:8; John 3:36; 1 John 5:10; Heb 3:17; Mark 16:16).
13. Faith purifieth the heart; but unbelief keepeth it polluted and impure (Acts
15:9; Titus 1:15,16).
14. By faith, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us; but by unbelief, we
are shut up under the law to perish (Rom 4:23,24; 11:32; Gal 3:23).
15. Faith maketh our work acceptable to God through Christ; but whatsoever is of
unbelief is sin. For without faith it is impossible to please him (Heb 11:4; Rom
14:23; Heb 6:6).
16. Faith giveth us peace and comfort in our souls; but unbelief worketh trouble
and tossings, like the restless waves of the sea (Rom 5:1; James 1:6).
17. Faith maketh us to see preciousness in Christ; but unbelief sees no form,
beauty, or comeliness in him (1 Peter 2:7; Isa 53:2,3).
18. By faith we have our life in Christ's fullness; but by unbelief we starve
and pine away (Gal 2:20).
19. Faith gives us the victory over the law, sin, death, the devil, and all
evils; but unbelief layeth us obnoxious to them all (1 John 5:4,5; Luke 12:46).
20. Faith will show us more excellency in things not seen, than in them that
are; but unbelief sees more in things that are seen, than in things that will be
hereafter;. (2 Cor 4:18; Heb 11:24-27; 1 Cor 15:32).
21. Faith makes the ways of God pleasant and admirable; but unbelief makes them
heavy and hard (Gal 5:6; 1 Cor 12:10,11; John 6:60; Psa 2:3).
22. By faith Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob possessed the land of promise; but
because of unbelief, neither Aaron, nor Moses, nor Miriam could get thither (Heb
23. By faith the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea; but by unbelief
the generality of them perished in the wilderness (Heb 11:29; Jude 5).
24. By faith Gideon did more with three hundred men, and a few empty pitchers,
than all the twelve tribes could do, because they believed not God (Judg
7:16-22; Num 14:11,14).
25. By faith Peter walked on the water; but by unbelief he began to sink (Matt
Thus might many more be added, which, for brevity's sake, I omit; beseeching
every one that thinketh he hath a soul to save, or be damned, to take heed of
unbelief; lest, seeing there is a promise left us of entering into his rest, any
of us by unbelief should indeed come short of it.
USE SECOND. The second use -A USE OF EXAMINATION.
We come now to a use of examination. Sinner, thou hast heard of the necessity of
coming to Christ; also of the willingness of Christ to receive the coming soul;
together with the benefit that they by him shall have that indeed come to him.
Put thyself now upon this serious inquiry, Am I indeed come to Jesus Christ?
Motives plenty I might here urge, to prevail with thee to a conscientious
performance of this duty. As, 1. Thou art in sin, in the flesh, in death, in the
snare of the devil, and under the curse of the law, if you are not coming to
Jesus Christ. 2. There is no way to be delivered from these, but by coming to
Jesus Christ. 3. If thou comest, Jesus Christ will receive thee, and will in no
wise cast thee out. 4. Thou wilt not repent it in the day of judgment, if now
thou comest to Jesus Christ. 5. But thou wilt surely mourn at last, if now thou
shalt refuse to come. 6. And lastly, Now thou hast been invited to come; now
will thy judgment be greater, and thy damnation more fearful, if thou shalt yet
refuse, than if thou hadst never heard of coming to Christ.
Object. But we hope we are come to Jesus Christ.
Answ. It is well if it proves so. But lest thou shouldst speak without ground,
and so fall unawares into hell-fire, let us examine a little.
First, Art thou indeed come to Jesus Christ? What hast thou left behind thee?
What didst thou come away from, in thy coming to Jesus Christ?
When Lot came out of Sodom, he left the Sodomites behind him (Gen 19). When
Abraham came out of Chaldea, he left his country and kindred behind him (Gen 12;
Acts 7). When Ruth came to put her trust under the wings of the Lord God of
Israel, she left her father and mother, her gods, and the land of her nativity,
behind her (Ruth 1:15-17; 2:11,12). When Peter came to Christ, he left his nets
behind him (Matt 4:20). When Zaccheus came to Christ, he left the receipt of
custom behind him (Luke 19). When Paul came to Christ, he left his own
righteousness behind him (Phil 3:7,8). When those that used curious arts came to
Jesus Christ, they took their curious books and burned them; though, in another
man's eye, they were counted worth fifty thousand pieces of silver (Acts
What sayest thou, man? Hast thou left thy darling sins, thy Sodomitish
pleasures, thy acquaintance and vain companions, thy unlawful gain, thy
idol-gods, thy righteousness, and thy unlawful curious arts, behind thee? If any
of these be with thee, and thou with them, in thy heart and life, thou art not
yet come to Jesus Christ.
Second, Art thou come to Jesus Christ? Prithee tell me what moved thee to come
to Jesus Christ?
Men do not usually come or go to this or that place, before they have a moving
cause, or rather a cause moving them thereto. No more do they come to Jesus
Christ -I do not say, before they have a cause, but -before that cause moveth
them to come. What sayest thou? Hast thou a cause moving thee to come? To be at
present in a state of condemnation, is cause sufficient for men to come to Jesus
Christ for life. But that will not do, except the cause move them; the which it
will never do, until their eyes be opened to see themselves in that condition.
For it is not a man's being under wrath, but his seeing it, that moveth him to
come to Jesus Christ. Alas! all men by sin are under wrath; yet but few of that
all come to Jesus Christ. And the reason is, because they do not see their
condition. "Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matt 3:7).
Until men are warned, and also receive the warning, they will not come to Jesus
Take three or four instances for this. Adam and Eve came not to Jesus Christ
until they received the alarm, the conviction of their undone state by sin. (Gen
3) The children of Israel cried not out for a mediator before they saw
themselves in danger of death by the law (Exo 20:18,19). Before the publican
came, he saw himself lost and undone (Luke 18:13). The prodigal came not, until
he saw death at the door, ready to devour him (Luke 15:17,18). The three
thousand came not, until they knew not what to do to be saved (Acts 2:37-39).
Paul came not, until he saw himself lost and undone (Acts 9:3-8,11). Lastly,
Before the jailer came, he saw himself undone (Acts 16:29-31). And I tell thee,
it is an easier thing to persuade a well man to go to the physician for cure, or
a man without hurt to seek for a plaster to cure him, than it is to persuade a
man that sees not his soul-disease, to come to Jesus Christ. The whole have no
need of the physician; then why should they go to him? The full pitcher can hold
no more; then why should it go to the fountain? And if thou comest full, thou
comest not aright; and be sure Christ will send thee empty away. "But he healeth
the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds" (Mark 2:17; Psa 147:3; Luke
Third, Art thou coming to Jesus Christ? Prithee tell me, What seest thou in him
to allure thee to forsake all the world, to come to him?
I say, What hast thou seen in him? Men must see something in Jesus Christ, else
they will not come to him. 1. What comeliness hast thou seen in his person? thou
comest not, if thou seest no form nor comeliness in him (Isa 53:1-3). 2. Until
those mentioned in the Song were convinced that there was more beauty,
comeliness, and desirableness in Christ, than in ten thousand, they did not so
much as ask where he was, nor incline to turn aside after him (Song 5, 6).
There be many things on this side heaven that can and do carry away the heart;
and so will do, so long as thou livest, if thou shalt be kept blind, and not be
admitted to see the beauty of the Lord Jesus.
Fourth, Art thou come to the Lord Jesus? What hast thou found in him, since thou
camest to him?
Peter found with him the word of eternal life (John 6:68). They that Peter makes
mention of, found him a living stone, even such a living stone as communicated
life to them (1 Peter 2:4,5). He saith himself, they that come to him, &c.,
shall find rest unto their souls; hast thou found rest in him for thy soul?
Let us go back to the times of the Old Testament.
1. Abraham found THAT in him, that made him leave his country for him, and
become for his sake a pilgrim and stranger in the earth (Gen 12; Heb 11).
2. Moses found THAT in him, that made him forsake a crown, and a kingdom for him
3. David found so much in him, that he counted to be in his house one day was
better than a thousand; yea, to be a door-keeper therein was better, in his
esteem, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (Psa 84:10).
4. What did Daniel and the three children find in him, to make them run the
hazards of the fiery furnace, and the den of lions, for his sake? (Dan 3, 6).
Let us come down to martyrs.
1. Stephen found that in him that made him joyful, and quietly yield up his life
for his name (Acts 7).
2. Ignatius found that in Christ that made him choose to go through the torments
of the devil, and hell itself, rather than not to have him. -Fox's Acts and
Monuments, vol. 1, p. 52, Anno. 111. Edit. 1632.
3. What saw Romanus in Christ, when he said to the raging Emperor, who
threatened him with fearful torments, Thy sentence, O Emperor, I joyfully
embrace, and refuse not to be sacrificed by as cruel torments as thou canst
invent? -Fox, vol. 1, p. 116.
4. What saw Menas, the Egyptian, in Christ, when he said, under most cruel
torments, There is nothing in my mind that can be compared to the kingdom of
heaven; neither is all the world, if it was weighed in a balance, to be
preferred with the price of one soul? Who is able to separate us from the love
of Jesus Christ our Lord? And I have learned of my Lord and King not to fear
them that kill the body, &c. P. 117.
5. What did Eulalia see in Christ, when she said, as they were pulling her one
joint from another, Behold, O Lord, I will not forget thee. What a pleasure it
is for them, O Christ! that remember thy triumphant victory? P. 121.
6. What think you did Agnes see in Christ, when rejoicingly she went to meet the
soldier that was appointed to be her executioner. I will willingly, said she,
receive into my paps the length of this sword, and into my breast will draw the
force thereof, even to the hilts; that thus I, being married to Christ my
spouse, may surmount and escape all the darkness of this world? P. 122.
7. What do you think did Julitta see in Christ, when, at the Emperor's telling
of her, that except she would worship the gods, she should never have
protection, laws, judgments, nor life, she replied, Farewell life, welcome
death; farewell riches, welcome poverty: all that I have, if it were a thousand
times more, would I rather lose, than to speak one wicked and blasphemous word
against my Creator? P. 123.
8. What did Marcus Arethusius see in Christ, when after his enemies had cut his
flesh, anointed it with honey, and hanged him up in a basket for flies and bees
to feed on, he would not give, to uphold idolatry, one halfpenny to save his
life? P. 128.
9. What did Constantine see in Christ, when he used to kiss the wounds of them
that suffered for him? P. 135.
10. But what need I give thus particular instances of words and smaller actions,
when by their lives, their blood, their enduring hunger, sword, fire, pulling
asunder, and all torments that the devil and hell could devise, for the love
they bare to Christ, after they were come to him?
What hast THOU found in him, sinner?
What! come to Christ, and find nothing in him! -when all things that are worth
looking after are in him! -or if anything, yet not enough to wean thee from thy
sinful delights, and fleshly lusts! Away, away, thou art not coming to Jesus
He that has come to Jesus Christ, hath found in him, that, as I said, that is
not to be found anywhere else. As,
1. He that is come to Christ hath found God in him reconciling the world unto
himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. And so God is not to be found in
heaven and earth besides (2 Cor 5:19,20).
2. He that is come to Jesus Christ hath found in him a fountain of grace,
sufficient, not only to pardon sin, but to sanctify the soul, and to preserve it
from falling, in this evil world.
3. He that is come to Jesus Christ hath found virtue in him; THAT virtue, that
if he does but touch thee with his Word, or thou him by faith, life is forthwith
conveyed into thy soul. It makes thee wake as one that is waked out of his
sleep; it awakes all the powers of the soul (Psa 30:11,12; Song 6:12).
4. Art thou come to Jesus Christ? Thou hast found glory in him, glory that
surmounts and goes beyond. "Thou art more glorious - than the mountains of prey"
5. What shall I say? Thou hast found righteousness in him; thou hast found rest,
peace, delight, heaven, glory, and eternal life.
Sinner, be advised; ask thy heart again, saying, Am I come to Jesus Christ? For
upon this one question, Am I come, or, am I not? hangs heaven and hell as to
thee. If thou canst say, I am come, and God shall approve that saying, happy,
happy, happy man art thou! But if thou art not come, what can make thee happy?
yea, what can make that man happy that, for his not coming to Jesus Christ for
life, must be damned in hell?
USE THIRD. -The third use -A USE OF ENCOURAGEMENT.
Coming sinner, I have now a word for thee; be of good comfort, "He will in no
wise cast out." Of all men, thou art the blessed of the Lord; the Father hath
prepared his Son to be a sacrifice for thee, and Jesus Christ, thy Lord, is gone
to prepare a place for thee (John 1:29; Heb 10). What shall I say to thee?
[First,] Thou comest to a FULL Christ; thou canst not want anything for soul or
body, for this world or that to come, but it is to be had in or by Jesus Christ.
As it is said of the land that the Danites went to possess, so, and with much
more truth, it may be said of Christ; he is such an one with whom there is no
want of any good thing that is in heaven or earth. A full Christ is thy Christ.
1. He is full of grace. Grace is sometimes taken for love; never any loved like
Jesus Christ. Jonathan's love went beyond the love of women; but the love of
Christ passes knowledge. It is beyond the love of all the earth, of all
creatures, even of men and angels. His love prevailed with him to lay aside his
glory, to leave the heavenly place, to clothe himself with flesh, to be born in
a stable, to be laid in a manger, to live a poor life in the world, to take upon
him our sicknesses, infirmities, sins, curse, death, and the wrath that was due
to man. And all this he did for a base, undeserving, unthankful people; yea, for
a people that was at enmity with him. "For when we were yet without strength, in
due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one
die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God
commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died
for us. Much more, then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved
from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God
by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his
life" (Rom 5:6-10).
2. He is full of truth. Full of grace and truth. Truth, that is, faithfulness in
keeping promise, even this of the text, with all other, "I will in no wise cast
out" (John 14:6). Hence it is said, that his words be true, and that he is the
faithful God, that keepeth covenant. And hence it is also that his promises are
called truth: "Thou wilt fulfil thy truth unto Jacob, and thy mercy unto
Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old." Therefore
it is said again, that both himself and words are truth: "I am the truth, the
Scripture of truth" (Dan 10:21). "Thy word is truth," (John 17:17; 2 Sam 7:28);
"thy law is truth," (Psa 119:142); and "my mouth," saith he, "shall speak
truth," (Prov 8:7); see also Ecclesiastes 12:10, Isaiah 25:1, Malachi 2:6, Acts
26:25, 2 Timothy 2:12,13. Now, I say, his word is truth, and he is full of truth
to fulfil his truth, even to a thousand generations. Coming sinner, he will not
deceive thee; come boldly to Jesus Christ.
3. He is full of wisdom. He is made unto us of God wisdom; wisdom to manage the
affairs of his church in general, and the affairs of every coming sinner in
particular. And upon this account he is said to be "head over all things," (1
Cor 1; Eph 1), because he manages all things that are in the world by his
wisdom, for the good of his church; all men's actions, all Satan's temptations,
all God's providences, all crosses, and disappointments; all things whatever are
under the hand of Christ -who is the wisdom of God -and he ordereth them all for
good to his church. And can Christ help it -and be sure he can -nothing shall
happen or fall out in the world, but it shall, in despite of all opposition,
have a good tendency to his church and people.
4. He is full of the Spirit, to communicate it to the coming sinner; he hath
therefore received it without measure, that he may communicate it to every
member of his body, according as every man's measure thereof is allotted him by
the Father. Wherefore he saith, that he that comes to him, "Out of his belly
shall flow rivers of living water" (John 3:34; Titus 3:5,6; Acts 2; John
5. He is indeed a storehouse full of all the graces of the Spirit. "Of his
fullness have all we received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16). Here is more
faith, more love, more sincerity, more humility, more of every grace; and of
this, even more of this, he giveth to every lowly, humble, penitent coming
sinner. Wherefore, coming soul, thou comest not to a barren wilderness when thou
comest to Jesus Christ.
6. He is full of bowels and compassion: and they shall feel and find it so that
come to him for life. He can bear with thy weaknesses, he can pity thy
ignorance, he can be touched with the feeling of thy infirmities, he can
affectionately forgive they transgressions, he can heal thy backslidings, and
love thee freely. His compassions fail not; "and he will not break a bruised
reed, nor quench the smoking flax; he can pity them that no eye pities, and be
afflicted in all thy afflictions" (Matt 26:41; Heb 5:2; 2:18; Matt 9:2; Hosea
14:4; Eze 16:5,6; Isa 63:9; Psa 78:38; 86:15; 111:4; 112:4; Lam 3:22; Isa 42:3).
7. Coming soul, the Jesus that thou art coming to, is full of might and
terribleness for thy advantage; he can suppress all thine enemies; he is the
Prince of the kings of the earth; he can bow all men's designs for thy help; he
can break all snares laid for thee in the way; he can lift thee out of all
difficulties wherewith thou mayest be surrounded; he is wise in heart, and
mighty in power. Every life under heaven is in his hand; yea, the fallen angels
tremble before him. And he will save thy life, coming sinner (1 Cor 1:24; Rom
8:28; Matt 28:18; Rev 4; Psa 19:3; 27:5,6; Job 9:4; John 17:2; Matt 8:29; Luke
8:28; James 2:19).
8. Coming sinner, the Jesus to whom thou art coming is lowly in heart, he
despiseth not any. It is not thy outward meanness, nor thy inward weakness; it
is not because thou art poor, or base, or deformed, or a fool, that he will
despise thee: he hath chosen the foolish, the base, and despised things of this
world, to confound the wise and mighty. He will bow his ear to thy stammering
prayers he will pick out the meaning of thy inexpressible groans; he will
respect thy weakest offering, if there be in it but thy heart (Matt 11:20; Luke
14:21; Prov 9:4-6; Isa 38:14,15; Song 5:15; John 4:27; Mark 12:33,34; James
5:11). Now, is not this a blessed Christ, coming sinner? Art thou not like to
fare well, when thou hast embraced him, coming sinner? But,
Second. Thou hast yet another advantage by Jesus Christ, thou art coming to him,
for he is not only full, BUT FREE. He is not sparing of what he has; he is
open-hearted and open-handed. Let me in a few particulars show thee this:
1. This is evident, because he calls thee; he calls upon thee to come unto him;
the which he would not do, was he not free to give; yea, he bids thee, when
come, ask, seek, knock. And for thy encouragement, adds to every command a
promise, "Seek, and ye shall find; ask, and ye shall have; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you." If the rich man should say thus to the poor, would not he
be reckoned a free-hearted man? I say, should he say to the poor, Come to my
door, ask at my door, knock at my door, and you shall find and have; would he
not be counted liberal? Why, thus doth Jesus Christ. Mind it, coming sinner (Isa
55:3; Psa 50:15; Matt 7:7-9).
2. He doth not only bid thee come, but tells thee, he will heartily do thee
good; yea, he will do it with rejoicing; "I will rejoice over them, to do them
good - with my whole heart, and with my whole soul" (Jer 32:41).
3. It appeareth that he is free, because he giveth without twitting. 21 "He
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not" (James 1, 5). There are some
that will not deny to do the poor a pleasure, but they will mix their mercies
with so many twits, that the persons on whom they bestow their charity shall
find but little sweetness in it. But Christ doth not do so, coming sinner; he
casteth all thine iniquities behind his back (Isa 38:17). Thy sins and
iniquities he will remember no more (Heb 8:12).
4. That Christ is free, is manifest by the complaints that he makes against them
that will not come to him for mercy. I say, he complains, saying, "O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen
gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt 23:37). I say,
he speaks it by way of complaint. He saith also in another place, "But thou hast
not called upon me, O Jacob" (Isa 43:22). Coming sinner, see here the
willingness of Christ to save; see here how free he is to communicate life, and
all good things, to such as thou art. He complains, if thou comest not; he is
displeased, if thou callest not upon him. Hark, coming sinner, once again; when
Jerusalem would not come to him for safeguard, "he beheld the city, and wept
over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the
things which belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes" (Luke
5. Lastly, He is open and free-hearted to do thee good, as is seen by the joy
and rejoicing that he manifesteth at the coming home of poor prodigals. He
receives the lost sheep with rejoicing; the lost goat with rejoicing; yea, when
the prodigal came home, what joy and mirth, what music and dancing, was in his
father's house! (Luke 15).
Third. Coming sinner, I will add another encouragement for thy help.
1. God hath prepared a mercy-seat, a throne of grace to sit on; that thou mayest
come thither to him, and that he may from thence hear thee, and receive thee. "I
will commune with thee," saith he, "from above the mercy-seat" (Exo 25:22). As
who shall say, sinner, When thou comest to me, thou shalt find me upon the
mercy-seat, where also I am always found of the undone coming sinner. Thither I
bring my pardons; there I hear and receive their petitions, and accept them to
2. God hath also prepared a golden altar for thee to offer thy prayers and tears
upon. A golden altar! It is called a "golden altar," to show what worth it is of
in God's account: for this golden altar is Jesus Christ; this altar sanctifies
thy gift, and makes thy sacrifice acceptable. This altar, then, makes thy groans
golden groans; thy tears golden tears; and thy prayers golden prayers, in the
eye of that God thou comest to, coming sinner (Rev 8; Matt 23:19; Heb 10:10; 1
3. God hath strewed all the way, from the gate of hell, where thou wast, to the
gate of heaven, whither thou art going, with flowers out of his own garden.
Behold how the promises, invitations, calls, and encouragements, like lilies,
lie round about thee! take heed that thou dost not tread them under foot,
sinner. With promises, did I say? Yea, he hath mixed all those with his own
name, his Son's name; also, with the name of mercy, goodness, compassion, love,
pity, grace, forgiveness, pardon, and what not, that may encourage the coming
4. He hath also for thy encouragement laid up the names, and set forth the sins,
of those that have been saved. In this book they are fairly written, that thou,
through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, mightest have hope. (1.) In this
book is recorded Noah's maim and sin; and how God had mercy upon him. (2.) In
this record is fairly written the name of Lot, and the nature of his sin; and
how the Lord had mercy upon him. (3.) In this record thou hast also fairly
written the names of Moses, Aaron, Gideon, Samson, David, Solomon, Peter, Paul,
with the nature of their sins; and how God had mercy upon them; and all to
encourage thee, coming sinner.
Fourth. I will add yet another encouragement for the man that is coming to Jesus
Christ. Art thou coming? Art thou coming, indeed? Why,
1. Then this thy coming is by virtue of God's call. Thou art called. Calling
goes before coming. Coming is not of works, but of him that calleth. "He goeth
up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would; and they came unto him"
2. Art thou coming? This is also by virtue of illumination. God has made thee
see; and, therefore, thou art coming. So long as thou wast darkness, thou
lovedst darkness, and couldst not abide to come, because thy deeds were evil;
but being now illuminated and made to see what and where thou art, and also what
and where thy Saviour is, now thou art coming to Jesus Christ; "Blessed art
thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee," saith
Christ, "but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt 16:17).
3. Art thou coming? This is because God hath inclined thine heart to come. God
hath called thee, illuminated thee, and inclined thy heart to come; and,
therefore, thou comest to Jesus Christ. It is God that worketh in thee to will,
and to come to Jesus Christ. Coming sinner, bless God for that he hath given
thee a will to come to Jesus Christ. It is a sign that thou belongest to Jesus
Christ, because God has made thee willing to come to him (Psa 110:3). Bless God
for slaying the enmity of thy mind; had he not done it, thou wouldst as yet have
hated thine own salvation.
4. Art thou coming to Jesus Christ? It is God that giveth thee power: power to
pursue thy will in the matters of thy salvation, is the gift of God. "It is God
which worketh in you both to will and to do" (Phil 2:13). Not that God worketh
will to come, where he gives no power; but thou shouldest take notice, that
power is an additional mercy. The church saw that will and power were two
things, when she cried, "Draw me, we will run after thee" (Song 1:4). And so did
David too, when he said, "I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou
shalt enlarge my heart" (Psa 119:32). Will to come, and power to pursue thy
will, is double mercy, coming sinner.
5. All thy strange, passionate, sudden rushings forward after Jesus Christ,
coming sinners know what I mean, they also are thy helps from God. Perhaps thou
feelest at some times more than at others, strong stirrings up of heart to fly
to Jesus Christ; now thou hast at this time a sweet and stiff gale of the Spirit
of God, filling thy sails with the fresh gales of his good Spirit; and thou
ridest at those times as upon the wings of the wind, being carried out beyond
thyself, beyond the most of thy prayers, and also above all thy fear and
6. Coming sinner, hast thou not now and then a kiss of the sweet lips of Jesus
Christ, I mean some blessed word dropping like a honey-comb upon thy soul to
revive thee, when thou art in the midst of thy dumps?
7. Does not Jesus Christ sometimes give thee a glimpse of himself, though
perhaps thou seest him not so long a time as while one may tell twenty.
8. Hast thou not sometimes as it were the very warmth of his wings overshadowing
the face of thy soul, that gives thee as it were a gload22 upon thy spirit, as
the bright beams of the sun do upon thy body, when it suddenly breaks out of a
cloud, though presently all is gone away? Well, all these things are the good
hand of thy God upon thee, and they are upon thee to constrain, to provoke, and
to make thee willing and able to come, coming sinner, that thou mightest in the
end be saved.