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mould be deceived? What if Jesus Christ do pot love me with a special love? O these tears and suspicions are intolerable torments to her ; The cannot bear them : they are cruel as the grave;, ipfufferable as coals of fire, which have a molt veheinent Aame ; g. d. Lord, if thou leave me in the midst of these jealoufies of thy love, I shall be but a torment to myself; I fall live as one upon the rack, or in the flames. Hence the
notest. That the nefly defires. Chrift to.pl
Doct. That there is nothing in this world, which trie Chrifti
ans more earnestly desire, than to be well asured and fatisa
fied of the tove of Jesus Christ to their souls. In the meditátion of this point, two things must be enquired into : .
İ. Whỳ this assurance is fò desirable.
2. How it may be obtained. i. Why the afforánce of the love of Christ is so desirable in the eyes of trüe Christians. And amoog others, there are two things that especially make it fo; viz.
1. The sweetness of its enjoyment.
2. The difficulty of its attainment., The sweetness of its enjoymeöt, which is inexprellible, and inconceivable ; for it is a mercy above all estimation. It is,
1. The riches of faith,
Š. Á fweet support in all troubles. i. It is the very riches of faith, the most pleasant fruit which grows upon the top branches of faith. The scriptore tells us of an assurance of understanding, hope, and faith. All these graces are precious in themselves ; but the assurance of each of them is the most sweet and pleasant part. Koowledge, above knowledge, is the full afřurance of knowledge : hope á. bove hope, is the full assurance of bope: and faith above faith; is the full affurance of faith. The least and lowest act of fav. ing faith is precious, and above all value ; what the most the highest add most excelleot acts of faith be? Certainly, there is a sweetness in the assurance of faith, that few men have the privilege to taste; aod they that do, can find so words able to express it to another's understanding. The weakest Christian is exalted above all other men, but the assured Christiao hath a prefereoce before all other Christians. 2. It is heart's ease; the very Sabbath and sweet repose of
the soul. Thousands of poor Christiaos would part with all they possess in this world, to enjoy it: but it Aies from them, The life that most of them live, is a life betwixt hopes and fears; their interelt in Christ is very doubtful to them. Some. times they are encouraged, from sensible workiags of grace; then alt is dalhed again, by the contrary stirrings and workiogs of their own corruptions. Now the sun shines out clear, by and by the heavens are overcast and clouded agaia : but the alsured Christian is at relt, from those tormenting fears aod jealousies which my text speaks of, that are as cruel as the grave, and as jusufferable as coals of fire io a inan's bosom. He can take Christ into the arms of faith, and fay,: “ My beloved “ is mine, and I am his. Return to thy rest, O my soul, for “ the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee!”
3. It is the pleasure of life ; yea, the most rational, pure, and transporting pleasure. What is life without pleasure ? And what pleafure is there in the world, comparable to this pleasure ? For let the sealed and assured believer consider, and compare ; and he must needs find a joy and pleasure, begood the joy of the whole earth. If he consider well what he is assured of, it is no common mercy, but Chrilt himself, and his love ; a mercy incomprehensible by men or angels; Eph. iin 19. Put Christ joto the fepsible poffeffion of a believer, and joy is no more under his command for that time: he cannot forbear to rejoice ; and especially when his thoughts are exerciled in compariog states and conditions ; either his own with others mens, or his own now, with what it was, and what ir shall be. To think with thyself thus, I am assured of Chrift, and his love; my interest in him is sealed ; but this is a mercy few enjoy besides me. There be millions of souls of equal value with minc by nature, that shall never enjog fuch a mercy as this. Yea, the time was, wheo I myself was far from it, in my unregenerate state. Lord, how is it I had got then been sealed to dampation ? O, it is well with me for the prelent, that I can call Christ my own; and yet it will be better aod better : my coodition will mend every day. I am now in Chrift; and it is but a little while, before I shall be with Christ, and arrive at the full fatisfaction of my, very heart. O, what pleasure doth every glance, backward or forward, give to the sealed soul. .
4. It is a cordial jo death; and there is pone like it. This will make the soul triumph over the grave, take death chearfully by the cold hand, welcome its grim messengers, and long to be gone, and be with Christ. Dark and doubting Christians may indeed shrink back from it, and be afraid of the exchange;
but the assured foul longs to be gone, and deeds patience to live, as other men do to die. When one was asked, if he were willing to die? his apswer was, Illius eft nolle mori, qui nolit ire ad Chriftum ; Let him be loth to die, that is loth to go to Chrift:
The sugar of assurance sweetens the bitrer cup of death, and makes it delectable to a believer's relish.
5. In a word, it is a sweet support, in all the troubles and afflictions on this fide the grave. Let the assured soul be caft into what condition the Lord pleases; be it upon a bed of fickness ; yet this gives his foul such support and comfort, that he Thall not say, I am sick. Sin being forgiven, the soul is well, when the body is in pain, Isa. xxxiii. 24. Let him be cait iato a prison, here is that which will curn a prison into a paradise, Acts v. 41. Let him be pinched with outward want ; this will supply all : “ As having nothing, aod yet poffeffiog all " things,” 2 Cor. vi. 10. Thus you see how desirable it is
for its owo excellency. . .. 2. Aod as it is desirable for the sweetness of its own enjoy.
meor, so also from the difficulty of its attainment. All excel-
uently committed, and fouod in this matter, makes upright
J when they read Matth. vii. 22., that many will say to Christ *S321 u n that day, Lord, we have prophesied in thy name, &c. it scares UP SAhem, left they also be deceived. qu0 (3.) The grand importance of the matter, makes poor souls cariul of concluding certainly about it. O when a man con
siders, that the whole weight of his eternal happiness or wifery, depends upon the resolution of these quelliops, Am I in Chrift, or ama I not ? it will make him tremble to determine. Ia a word, alfurance is not in our power, or at our commapd. There be many holy, humble, diligent, and longing fouls, to whom it is denied : it is arbitrarily dispensed by the pleasure of the Spirit, to whom he will; and fuch favours are rare, even among (rue believers ; the more therefore it is to be valued and desired by all, as the spouse doth in this place. And so much to the firft thiog;. Upon what account the assurance of Christ's love is so depirable in the eyes of Christians ?
2. In the last place, let us consider, how this mercy, which is to desirable, may be obtained : And this is our proper work and business at this time.
You are now come to a fealing ordinance, institored on porpose for this noble end aad ule. O that we would pray and plead for it, as the fpouse here doth !“ Şet me as a seal upon
thinc heart, as a seal upon chiae arm : for love is strong as « death ; jealousy is cruel as the grave," &c. Now, in order to the attainment of this moft desirable mercy, take a few necessary hiacs of your present work and duty, in the following, directions. - Direction Would you be well fecured of Chrift's love to you, and that you are set as a feal upon his beaçt? Then exercise and manifeft more love to Christ, and let him be much up on your hearts. " If it be clear to you, that you have true love to Jesus Christ, you aeed not at all to doubt, but you are in his heart, sod in his love : I love them that love me, Prov, viï, 17. And surely you have now before you the greatest motive jo the world, to ingame your love to Jelus Christ. Behold bim as he is here represented to you, wounded for your iniquities ; yea, facrificed to the wrath of God, for your peace, pardon, aod salvation ! " O what manner of love is this ! Behold
how he loved thee!" If Christ's love draw forth thine, it will fo far clear thy interest in his love, as it fhall engage thy heart in love to him. "
. Direction II. But seeiog the activity of your love will be ac, cording to the activity of your faith ; therefore, in the next place, I advise you to make it the main work aod business of this hour, to exercise your faith upon Jesus Christ. Set yourselves this day to believe : The more strong the direct acts of your faith shall be, the more clear and comfortable its reflex acts are like to be.'
There are three distinct offices, or employments for your faith, at this table, viza
will fo far cliento him. cecing the activist herefore, bulinels
1. To realize
3. To infer, from the sufferings of Jesus Chrift. . 1. To realize the fufferings of Christ for you, and behold them here represented in a true glass to the eye of faith. See you that bread broken, and that wipe poured out ? As sure as this is so, Jesus Christ endured the cross, suffered the wrath of the great and terrible God, in his soul, and in his body, upon the cursed tree, for, and in the room of poor condemned fin pers. Your faith for the one hath as much, yea, more certainty, than your sense bath for the other. “ This is a faithful $ saying, aod worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came “, into the world to fave sioners,” Tim. i. 15.. “And with. “ out controversy, great is the mystery of godliness ; God was & manifelted in the desh,” &c. i Tim. ii. 16.
2. Apply the sufferings of Christ this day to thine owo soul : Believe all this to be done aod luffered in thy room, and for thy fake. He oftered not this facrifice for his own lios, but ours s Ifa. liii. 9. Heb. vii. 27. He was iocarpate for you, Ifa. ix. 6. " For us a child is born ; to us a fon is given." His death was for you, and io your itead, Gal. iii. 13. “He was made a curle * for us ;” and when he arose from the dead," he rose for our ;“ justification," Rom. iv. 25. And now he is in glory, at the
right-hand of God, he is there for us, Heb. vii. 25. “ He ever « lives, to make intercession for os.” It was the pride, para fion, earthliness, and unbelief of thy heart, which Jesus Chrift groaned, bled, and died, to procure a pardoo for.
3. Infer from the sufferings of Chrift, those conclusions of faith that teod to assurance. As thus : Did Christ die for me, when I was an enemy? Then surely, being reconciled, I shall be saved by his life, Rom. 1. 10. Agaip ; Is Christ dead for me? Theo I shall never die eternally. Nothing shall ~ separate me " from the love of God; it is Christ that died,” Rom. viii. 34.
Direction III. Mourd over all those lips, that cavie the Lord to hide his face from your souls. Have you grieved the Spirit by your fios? O be grieved for it this day at your very hearts; cover the table of the Lord with tears : “ Look upon him wbom “ you have pierced, and moura as for ao only top.” Though there be no merit, yer there is much mercy in a broken heart for fio; and there is no such advantage to get your hearts broken, as ihis is, which is now before you. When the shower of repentance is fallen, the heavens over thee inay be clear, and the sup shine out in its brightnels upon thy ioul. * Direction IV. In a word; pour out thy soul to God, in hearty