OBJECTIONS ANSWERED FOR THEIR COMFORT WHO WOULD HAVE THEIR PART IN THE NEW COVENANT.
Object. But, alas, though I should never sin that sin, yet I have other sins enough to damn me.
Answ. What though thou hadst the sins of a thousand sinners, yet if thou come to Christ, He will save thee (John 6:37; See also Hebrews 7:25).
Object. Alas, but how shall I come? I doubt I do not come as I should do? My heart is naught and dead; and, alas! then how should I come?
Answ. Why, bethink thyself of all the sins that ever thou didst commit, and lay the weight of them all upon thy heart, till thou art down loaden with the same, and come to Him in such a case as this, and He will give thee rest for thy soul (Matt 11:28-30). And again; if thou wouldst know how thou shouldst come, come as much undervaluing thyself as ever thou canst, saying, Lord, here is a sinner, the basest in all the country; if I had my deserts, I had been damned in Hell-fire long ago; Lord, I am not worthy to have the least corner in the Kingdom of Heaven; and yet, O that Thou wouldst have mercy! Come like Benhadad's servants to the king of Israel, with a rope about thy neck (1 Kings 20:31,32) and fling thyself at Christ's feet, and lie there a while, striving with Him by thy prayers, and I will warrant thee speed (Matt 11:28-30; John 6:37).
Object. O, but I am not sanctified.
Answ. He will sanctify thee, and be made thy sanctification also (1 Cor 1:30; 6:10,11).
Object. O, but I cannot pray.
Answ. To pray is not for thee to down on thy knees, and say over a many Scripture words only; for that thou mayest do, and yet do nothing but babble. But if thou from a sense of thy baseness canst groan out thy heart's desire before the Lord, He will hear thee, and grant thy desire; for He can tell what is the meaning of the groanings of the Spirit (Rom 8:26,27).
Object. O, but I am afraid to pray, for fear my prayers should be counted as sin in the sight of the great God.
Answ. That is a good sign that thy prayers are more than bare words, and have some prevalence at the Throne of Grace through Christ Jesus, or else the devil would never seek to labour to beat thee off from prayer by undervaluing thy prayers, telling thee they are sin; for the best prayers he will call the worst, and the worst he will call the best, or else how should he be a liar?
Object. But I am afraid the day of grace is past; and if it should be so, what should I do then?
Answ. Truly, with some men indeed it doth fare thus, that the day of grace is at an end before their lives are at end. Or thus, the day of grace is past before the day of death is come, as Christ saith, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace," that is, the word of grace or reconciliation, "but now they are hid from thine eyes" (Luke 19:41,42). But for the better satisfying of thee as touching this thing, consider these following things-
First, Doth the Lord knock still at the door of thy heart by His Word and Spirit? If so, then the day of grace is not past with thy soul; for where He doth so knock, there He doth also proffer and promise to come in and sup, that is, to communicate of His things unto them, which he would not do was the day of grace past with his soul (Rev 3:20).
Object. But how should I know whether Christ do so knock at my heart as to be desirous to come in? That I may know also, whether the day of grace be past with me or no?
Answ. Consider these things-1. Doth the Lord make thee sensible of thy miserable state without an interest in Jesus Christ, and that naturally thou hast no share in Him, no faith in Him, no communion with Him, no delight in Him, or love in the least to Him? If He hath, and is doing this, He hath, and is knocking at thy heart. 2. Doth He, together with this, put into thy heart an earnest desire after communion with Him, together with holy resolutions not to be satisfied without real communion with Him. 3. Doth He sometimes give thee some secret persuasions, though scarcely discernible, that thou mayest attain, and get an interest in Him? 4. Doth He now and then glance in some of the promises into thy heart, causing them to leave some heavenly savour, though but for a very short time, on thy spirit? 5. Dost thou at some time see some little excellency in Christ? And doth all this stir up in thy heart some breathing after Him? If so, then fear not, the day of grace is not past with thy poor soul; for if the day of grace should be past with such a soul as this, then that Scripture must be broken where Christ saith, "Him that cometh to Me, I will in nowise," for nothing, by no means, upon no terms whatsoever, "cast out. (John 6:37).
Object. But surely, if the day of grace was not past with me, I should not be so long without an answer of God's love to my soul; that therefore doth make me mistrust my state the more is, that I wait and wait, and yet am not delivered.
Answ. 1. Hast thou waited on the Lord so long as the Lord hath waited on thee? It may be the Lord hath waited on thee these twenty, or thirty, yes, forty years or more, and thou hath not waited on Him seven years. Cast this into thy mind, therefore, when Satan tells thee that God doth not love thee, because thou hast waited so long without an assurance, for it is his temptation, for God did wait longer upon thee, and was fain to send to thee by His ambassadors time after time; and, therefore, say thou, I will wait to see what the Lord will say unto me; and the rather, because He will speak peace, for He is the Lord thereof. But, 2. Know that it is not thy being under trouble a long time that will be an argument sufficiently to prove that thou art past hopes; nay, contrariwise, for Jesus Christ did take our nature upon Him, and also did undertake deliverance for those, and bring it in for them who "were all their LIFETIME subject to bondage" (Heb 2:14,15).
Object. But alas! I am not able to wait, all my strength is gone; I have waited so long, I can wait no longer.
Answ. It may be thou hast concluded on this long ago, thinking thou shouldst not be able to hold out any longer; no, not a year, a month, or a week; nay, it may be, not so long. It may be in the morning thou hast thought thou shouldst not hold out till night; and at night, till morning again; yet the Lord hath supported thee, and kept thee in waiting upon Him many weeks and years; therefore that is but the temptation of the devil to make thee think so, that he might drive thee to despair of God's mercy, and so to leave off following the ways of God, and to close in with thy sins again. O therefore do not give way unto it, but believe that thou shalt "see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord" (Psa 28:13,14). And that thou mayest so do, consider these things- (1.) If thou, after thou hast waited thus long, shouldst now give over, and wait no longer, thou wouldst lose all thy time and pains that thou hast taken in the way of God hitherto, and wilt be like to a man that, because he sought long for gold, and did not find it, therefore turned back from seeking after it, though he was hard by it, and had almost found it, and all because he was loath to look and seek a little further. (2.) Thou wilt not only lose thy time, but also lose thy own soul, for salvation is nowhere else but in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). (3.) Thou wilt sin the highest sin that ever thou didst sin before, in drawing finally back, insomuch that God may say, My soul shall have no pleasure in him (Heb 10:38). But, 2. Consider, thou sayest, all my strength is gone, and therefore how should I wait? Why, at that time when thou feelest and findest thy strength quite gone, even that is the time when the Lord will renew and give thee fresh strength. "The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint" (Isa 40:30,31).
Object. But though I do wait, yet if I be not elected to eternal life, what good will all my waiting do me? "For it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." Therefore, I say, if I should not be elected, all is in vain.
Answ. 1. Why in the first place, to be sure thy backsliding from God will not prove thy election, neither thy growing weary of waiting upon God. But, 2. Thou art, it may be, troubled to know whether thou art elected; and, sayest thou, If I did but know that, that would encourage me in my waiting on God. Answ. I believe thee; but mark, thou shalt not know thy election in the first place, but in the second-that is to say, thou must first get acquaintance with God in Christ, which doth come by thy giving credit to His promises, and records which He hath given of Jesus Christ's blood and righteousness, together with the rest of His merits-that is, before thou canst know whether thou are elected, thou must believe in Jesus Christ so really, that thy faith laying hold of, and drinking and eating the flesh and blood of Christ, even so that there shall be life begotten in thy soul by the same; life from the condemnings of the Law; life from the guilt of sin; life over the filth of the same; life also to walk with God in His Son and ways; the life of love to God the Father, and Jesus Christ His Son, saints and ways and that because they are holy, harmless, and such that are altogether contrary to iniquity.
For these things must be in thy soul as a forerunner of thy being made acquainted with the other; God hath these two ways to show His children their election-(1.) By testimony of the Spirit-that is, the soul being under trouble of conscience and grieved for sin, the Spirit doth seal up the soul by its comfortable testimony; persuading of the soul that God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven all those sins that lie so heavy on the conscience, and that do so much perplex the soul, by showing it that that Law, which doth utter such horrible curses against it, is by Christ's blood satisfied and fulfilled (Eph 1:13,14). (2.) By consequence-that is, the soul finding that God hath been good unto it, in that He hath showed it its lost state and miserable condition, and also that He hath given it some comfortable hope that He will save it from the same; I say, the soul, from a right sight thereof, doth, or may, draw this conclusion, that if God had not been minded to have saved it, He would not have done for it such things as these. But for the more sure dealing with thy soul, it is not good to take any of these apart-that is, it is not good to take the testimony of the Spirit, as thou supposest thou hast, apart from the fruits thereof, so as to conclude the testimony thou hast received to be a sufficient ground without the other; not that it is not, if it be the testimony of the Spirit, but because the devil doth also deceive souls by the workings of his spirit in them, pretending that it is the Spirit of God.
And again; thou shouldst not satisfy thyself, though thou do find some seekings in thee after that which is good, without the testimony of the other-that is to say, of the Spirit-for it is the testimony of two that is to be taken for the truth; therefore, say I, as thou shouldst be much in praying for the Spirit to testify assurance to thee, so also thou shouldst look to the end of it when thou thinkest thou hast it; which is this, to show thee that it is alone for Christ's sake that thy sins are forgiven thee, and also thereby a constraining of thee to advance Him, both by words and works, in holiness and righteousness all the days of thy life. From hence thou mayst boldly conclude thy election-"Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father. Knowing, brethren," saith the Apostle, "beloved, your election of God." But how? why by this, "For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. And to wait for His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which" hath "delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess 3:4-6, 10).
Object. But alas, for my part, instead of finding in me anything that is good, I find in me all manners of wickedness, hard- heartedness, hypocricy, coldness of affection to Christ, very great unbelief, together with everything that is base and of an ill savour. What hope therefore can I have?
Answ. If thou wast not such an one, thou hadst no need of mercy. If thou wast whole, thou hadst no need of the physician. Dost thou therefore see thyself in such a sad condition as this? Thou hast the more need to come to Christ, that thou mayst be not only cleansed from these evils, but also that thou mayst be delivered from that wrath they will bring upon thee, if thou dost not get rid of them, to all eternity.
Quest. But how should I do? and what course should I take to be delivered from this sad and troublesome condition?
Answ. Dost thou see in thee all manner of wickedness? The best way that I can direct a soul in such a case is, to pitch a steadfast eye on Him that is full, and to look so steadfastly upon Him by faith, that thereby thou mayst even draw down of His fullness into thy heart; for that is the right way, and the way that was typed out, before Christ came in the flesh, in the time of Moses, when the Lord said unto him, "Make thee a fiery serpent" of brass, which was a type of Christ "and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass" that when a serpent hath bitten any man, "when he looketh upon it, shall live" (Num 21:8). Even so now in Gospel times, when any soul is bitten with the fiery serpents-their sins-that then the next way to be healed is, for the soul to look upon the Son of Man, who, as the serpent was, was hanged on a pole, or tree, that whosoever shall indeed look on Him by faith may be healed of all their distempers whatever (John 3:14,15).
As now to instance in some things. 1. Is thy heart hard? Why, then, behold how full of bowels and compassion is the heart of Christ towards thee, which may be seen in His coming down from Heaven to spill His heart-blood for thee. 2. Is thy heart slothful and idle? Then see how active the Lord Jesus is for thee in that He did not only die for thee, but also in that He hath been ever since His ascension into Heaven making intercession for thee (Heb 7:25). 3. Dost thou see and find in thee iniquity and unrighteousness? Then look up to Heaven, and see there a righteous Person, even thy righteous Jesus Christ, now presenting thee in His own perfection before the throne of His Father's glory (1 Cor 1:30). 4. Dost thou see that thou art very much void of sanctification? Then look up, and thou shalt see that thy sanctification is in the presence of God a complete sanctification, representing all the saints as righteous, as sanctified ones in the presence of the great God of Heaven. And so whatsoever thou wantest, be sure to strive to pitch thy faith upon the Son of God, and behold Him steadfastly, and thou shalt, by so doing, find a mighty change in thy soul. For when we behold Him as in a glass, even the glory of the Lord, we are changed, namely, by beholding, "from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor 3:18). This is the true way to get both comfort to thy soul, and also sanctification and right holiness into thy soul.
Poor souls that are under the distemper of a guilty conscience, and under the workings of much corruption, do not go the nearest way to Heaven if they do not in the first place look upon themselves as cursed sinners by Law; and yet at that time they are blessed, for ever blessed saints by the merits of Jesus Christ. "O wretched man that I am," saith Paul; and yet, O blessed man that I am, through my Lord Jesus Christ; for that is the scope of the Scripture (Rom 7:24,25).
Object. But, alas, I am blind, and cannot see; what shall I do now?
Answ. Why, truly, thou must go to Him that can make the eyes that are blind to see, even to our Lord Jesus, by prayer, saying, as the poor blind man did, "Lord, that I might receive my sight"; and so continue begging Him, till thou do receive sight, even a sight of Jesus Christ, His death, blood, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and that for thee, even for thee. And the rather, because, 1. He hath invited thee to come and buy such eye-salve of Him that may make thee see (Rev 3:18). 2. Because thou shalt never have any true comfort till thou dost thus come to see and behold the Lamb of God that hath taken away thy sins (John 1:29). 3. Because that thereby thou wilt be able through grace, to step over and turn aside from the several stumbling-blocks that Satan, together with his instruments, hath laid in our way, which otherwise thou wilt not be able to shun, but will certainly fall when others stand, and grope and stumble when others go upright, to the great prejudice of thy poor soul.
Object. But, alas, I have nothing to carry with me; how then should I go?
Answ. Hast thou no sins? If thou hast, carry them, and exchange them for His righteousness; because He hath said, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee" (Psa 54:22); and again, because He hath said, though thou be heavy laden, yet if thou do but come to Him, He will give thee rest (Matt 11:28).
Object. But, you will say, Satan telleth me that I am so cold in prayers, so weak in believing, so great a sinner, that I do go so slothfully on in the way of God, that I am so apt to slip at every temptation, and to be entangled therewith, together with other things, so that I shall never be able to attain those blessed things that are held forth to sinners by Jesus Christ; and therefore my trouble is much upon this account also, and many times I fear that will come upon me which Satan suggesteth to me-that is, I shall miss of eternal life.
Answ. 1. As to the latter part of the objection, that thou shalt never attain to everlasting life, that is obtained for thee already, without thy doing, either thy praying, striving, or wrestling against sin. If we speak properly, it is Christ that hath in His own body abolished death on the Cross, and brought light, life, and glory to us through this His thus doing. But this is the thing that thou aimest at, that thou shalt never have a share in this life already obtained for so many as do come by faith to Jesus Christ; and all because thou art so slothful, so cold, so weak, so great a sinner, so subject to slip and commit infirmities. 2. I answer, Didst thou never learn for to outshoot the devil in his own bow, and to cut off his head with his own sword, as David served Goliath, who was a type of him.
Quest. O how should a poor soul do this? This is rare, indeed.
Answ. Why, truly thus-Doth Satan tell thee thou prayest but faintly, and with very cold devotion? Answer him thus, and say, I am glad you told me, for this will make me trust the more to Christ's prayers, and the less to my own; also I will endeavour henceforth to groan, to sigh, and to be so fervent in my crying at the Throne of Grace, that I will, if I can, make the heavens rattle again with the mighty groans thereof. And whereas thou sayest that I am so weak in believing, I am glad you mind me of it; I hope it will henceforward stir me up to cry the more heartily to God for strong faith, and make me the more restless till I have it. And seeing thou tellest me that I run so softly, and that I shall go near to miss of glory, this also shall be, through grace, to my advantage, and cause me to press the more earnestly towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. And seeing thou dost tell me that my sins are wondrous great, hereby thou bringest the remembrance of the unsupportable vengeance of God into my mind, if I die out of Jesus Christ, and also the necessity of the blood, death, and merits of Christ to help me; I hope it will make me fly the faster, and press the harder after an interest in Him; and the rather, because, as thou tellest me, my state will be unspeakably miserable without Him. And so all along, if he tell thee of thy deadness, dullness, coldness, or unbelief, or the greatness of thy sins, answer him, and say, I am glad you told me, I hope it will be a means to make me run faster, seek earnestlier, and to be the more restless after Jesus Christ. If thou didst but get this art as to outrun him in his own shoes, as I may say, and to make his own darts to pierce himself, then thou mightst also say, how doth Satan's temptations, as well as all other things, work together for my good, for my advantage (Rom 8:28).
Object. But I do find many weaknesses in every duty that I do perform, as when I pray, when I read, when I hear, or any other duty, that it maketh me out of conceit with myself, it maketh me think that my duties are nothing worth.
Answ. I answer, it may be it is thy mercy that thou art sensible of infirmities in thy best things thou doest; ay, a greater mercy than thou art aware of.
Quest. Can it me a mercy for me to be troubled with my corruptions? Can it be a privilege for me to be annoyed with my infirmities, and to have my best duties infected with it? How can it possibly be?
Answ. Verily, thy sins appearing in thy best duties, do work for thy advantage these ways-1. In that thou findest ground enough thereby to make thee humble; and when thou hast done all, yet to count thyself but an unprofitable servant. And, 2. Thou by this means art taken off from leaning on anything below a naked Jesus for eternal life. It is like, if thou wast not sensible of many by-thoughts and wickednesses in thy best performances, thou wouldst go near to be some proud, abominable hypocrite, or a silly, proud dissembling wretch at the best, such an one as would send thy soul to the devil in a bundle of thy own righteousness. But now, thou, through grace, seest that in all and everything thou doest there is sin enough in it to condemn thee. This, in the first place, makes thee have a care of trusting in thy own doings; and, secondly, showeth thee that there is nothing in thyself which will do thee any good by working in thee, as to the meritorious cause of thy salvation. No; but thou must have a share in the birth of Jesus, in the death of Jesus, in the blood, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of a crucified Jesus. And how sayest thou? Doth not thy finding of this in thee cause thee to fly from a depending on thy own doings? And doth it not also make thee more earnestly to groan after the Lord Jesus?
Yea, and let me tell thee also, it will be a cause to make thee admire the freeness and tender heartedness of Christ to thee, when He shall lift up the light of His countenance upon thee, because He hath regarded such an one as thou, sinful thou; and therefore, in this sense, it will be mercy to the saints that they do find the relics of sin still struggling in their hearts. But this is not simply the nature of sin, but the mercy and wisdom of God, who causeth all things to work together for the good of those that love and fear God (Rom 8). And, therefore, whatever thou findest in thy soul, though it be sin of never so black a soul-scarring nature, let it move thee to run the faster to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt not be ashamed-that is, of thy running to Him.
But when thou dost apprehend that thou art defiled, and also thy best duties annoyed with many weaknesses, let that Scripture come into thy thoughts which saith, "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"; and if thou shalt understand that, what thou canst not find in thyself thou shalt find in Christ. Art thou a fool in thyself? then Christ is made of God thy wisdom. Art thou unrighteous in thyself? Christ is made of God thy righteousness. Dost thou find that there is but very little sanctifying grace in thy soul? still here is Christ made thy sanctification; and all this in His own Person without thee, without thy wisdom, without thy righteousness, without thy sanctification, without in His own Person in thy Father's presence, appearing there perfect wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification in His own Person; I say, as a public Person for thee; so that thou mayest believe, and say to thy soul, My soul, though dost find innumerable infirmities in thyself, and in thy actions, yet look upon thy Jesus, the Man Jesus; He is wisdom, and that for thee, to govern thee, to take care for thee, and to order all things for the best for thee. He is also thy righteousness now at God's right hand, always shining before the eyes of His glory; so that there it is unmoveable, though thou art in never such a sad condition, yet thy righteousness, which is the Son of God, God-man, shines as bright as ever, and is as much accepted of God as ever. O this sometimes hath been life to me; and so, whatever thou, O my soul, findest wanting in thyself, through faith thou shalt see all laid up for thee in Jesus Christ, whether it be wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, or redemption. Nay, not only so, but, as I said before, He is all these in His own Person without thee in the presence of His Father for thee.
Object. But now, if any should say in their hearts, O, but I am one of the old-covenant men, I doubt-that is, I doubt I am not within this glorious Covenant of Grace. And how if I should not?
Answ. Well, thou fearest that thou are one of the old covenant, a son of the bond-woman. [1.] In the first place, know that thou wast one of them by nature, for all by nature are under that covenant; but set the case that thou art to this day under that, yet let me tell thee, in the first place, there are hopes for thee; for there is a gap open, a way made for souls to come from under the Covenant of Works, by Christ, "for He hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us" and you (Eph 2:14). And therefore, if thou wouldst be saved, thou mayest come to Christ; if thou wantest a righteousness, as I said before, there is one in Christ; if thou wouldst be washed, thou mayest come to Christ; and if thou wouldst be justified, there is justification enough in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the first. [2.] And thou canst not be so willing to come to Christ as He is willing thou shouldst come to Him. Witness His coming down from Heaven, His humiliation, His spilling of His blood from both His cheeks, by sweat under the burden of sin (Luke 22:44) and His shedding of it by the spear when He hanged on the Cross. It appears also by His promises, by His invitations, by His sending forth His messengers to preach the same to poor sinners, and threateneth damnation upon this very account, namely, the neglect of Him; and declares that all the thousands and ten thousands of sins in the world should not be able to damn those that believed in Him; that He would pardon all, forgive and pass by all, if they would but come unto Him; moreover, promiseth to cast out none, no, not the poorest, vilest, contemptiblest creature in the whole world.
"Come unto Me all," every one, though you be never so many, so vile, though your load be never so heavy and intolerable, though you deserve no help, not the least help, no mercy, not the least compassion, yet "cast your burden upon Me, and you shall find rest for your souls." Come unto Me and I will heal you, love you, teach you, and tell you the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. Come unto Me, and I will succour you, help you, and keep you from all devils and their temptations, from the Law and its curses, and from being for ever overcome with any evil whatever. Come unto Me for what you need, and tell Me what you would have, or what you would have Me do for you, and all My strength, love, wisdom, and interest that I have with My Father shall be laid out for you. Come unto Me, your sweet Jesus, your loving and tender-hearted Jesus, your everlasting and sin-pardoning Jesus. Come unto Me ,and I will wash you, and put My righteousness upon you, pray to the Father for you, and send My Spirit into you, that you might be saved. Therefore,
Consider, besides this, what a privilege thou shalt have at the Day of Judgment above thousands, if thou do in deed and in truth close in with this Jesus and accept of Him; for thou shalt not only have a privilege in this life, but in the life everlasting, even at the time of Christ's second coming from Heaven; for then, when there shall be the whole world gathered together, and all the good angels, bad angels, saints, and reprobates, when all thy friends and kindred, with thy neighbours on the right hand and on the left shall be with thee, beholding of the wonderful glory and majesty of the Son of God; then shall the Son of Glory, even Jesus, in the very view and sight of them all, smile and look kindly upon thee; when a smile or a kind look from Christ shall be worth more than ten thousand worlds, then thou shalt have it. You know it is counted an honour for a poor man to be favourably looked upon by a judge, or a king, in the sight of lords, earls, dukes, and princes; why, thus it will be with thee in the sight of all the princely saints, angels, and devils, in the sight of all the great nobles in the world; then, even thou that closest in with Christ, be thou rich or poor, be thou bond or free, wise or foolish, if thou close in with Him, He will say unto thee, "Well done, good and faithful servant," even in the midst of the whole world; they that love thee shall see it, and they that hate thee shall all to their shame behold it; for if thou fear Him here in secret, He will make it manifest even at that day upon the house-tops.
Secondly, Not only thus, but thou shalt also be lovingly received and tenderly embraced of Him at that day, when Christ hath thousands of gallant saints, as old Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, together with all the Prophets, and Apostles, and martyrs, attending on Him; together with many thousands of glittering angels ministering before Him; besides, when the ungodly shall appear there with their pale faces, with their guilty consciences, and trembling souls, that would then give thousands and ten thousands of worlds, if they had so many, if they could enjoy but one loving look from Christ. I say, then, then shalt thou have the hand of Christ, reached to thee kindly to receive thee, saying, Come, thou blessed, step up hither; thou was willing to leave all for Me, and now will I give all to thee; here is a throne, a crown, a kingdom, take them; thou wast not ashamed of Me when thou wast in the world among my enemies, and now will not I be ashamed of thee before thine enemies, but will, in the view of all these devils and damned reprobates promote thee to honour and dignity. "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Thou shalt see that those who have served Me in truth shall lose nothing by the means.
No; but ye shall be as pillars in My temple, and inheritors of My glory, and shall have place to walk in among My saints and angels (Zech 3:7). O! who would not be in this condition? who would not be in this glory? It will be such a soul-ravishing glory, that I am ready to think the whole reprobate world will be ready to run mad, to think that they should miss of it (Deu 28:34). Then will the vilest drunkard, swearer, liar, and unclean person willingly cry, "Lord, Lord, open to us," yet be denied of entrance; and thou in the meantime embraced, entertained, made welcome, have a fair mitre set upon thy head, and clothed with immortal glory (Zech 3:5). O, therefore, let all this move thee, and be of weight upon thy soul to close in with Jesus, this tender-hearted Jesus. And if yet, for all what I have said, thy sins do still stick with thee, and thou findest thy hellish heart loath to let them go, think with thyself in this manner-Shall I have my sins and lose my soul? Will they do me any good when Christ comes? Would not Heaven be better to me than my sins? and the company of God, Christ, saints, and angels, be better than the company of Cain, Judas, Balaam, with the devils in the furnace of fire? Canst thou now that readest or hearest these lines turn thy back, and go on in your sins? Canst thou set so light of Heaven, of God, of Christ, and the salvation of thy poor, yet precious soul? Canst thou hear of Christ, His bloody sweat and death, and not be taken with it, and not be grieved for it, and also converted by it? If so, I might lay thee down several considerations to stir thee up to mend thy pace towards Heaven; but I shall not; there is enough written already to leave thy soul without excuse and to bring thee down with a vengeance into Hell-fire, devouring fire, the Lake of Fire, eternal everlasting fire; O to make thee swim and roll up and down in the flames of the furnace of fire!