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derived; and denoting the anguish and troubles of them that are in that place of torments.
And the fourth tells us, he was in an agony; Luke xxiii. 44. all expreffing, in several emphatical notions and metaphors, the extremity of Chrift's anguish and torment. This cannot but greatly affect and break the believer's heart.
Thirdly, But then that which most affects the heart, is Chrift's undergoing all this, not only in love to us, but in our room and stead. He fuffered not for any evil he had done, for there was no guile found in his mouth, Ifa. liii. 4, 5. But the juft fuffered for the unjust, Pet. iii. 18. It was for me, a vile, wretched, worthless finner. It was my pride, my earthlinefs, the hardness of my heart, the corruption of my nature, the innumerable evils of my life, that brought him down to the duft of death : "He was made fin for us, who knew no fin," 2 Cor. v. 21.
Who can believingly eye Chrift, as fuffering fuch pains, fuch wrath, fuch a curfe, in the room of fuch a finner, fuch a rebel, fo undeferving, and fo ill-deferving a creature, and not mourn as for an only fon, and be in bitterness as for a firstborn?
Fourthly, Faith melts the heart, by confidering the effects and fruits of the fufferings of Chrift, what great things he hath purchased by his stripes and blood for poor finners; a full and final pardon of fin, a well-fettled peace with God, a fure title and right to the eternal inheritance; and all this for thee, a law-condemned, a felf-condemned finner. Lord, what am I, that fuch mercies as these fhould be purchased by fuch a price for me? For me, when thousands and ten thousands of fweeter difpofitions must burn in hell for ever! Oh, what manner of love is this!
Fifthly, Faith melts the heart, by exerting a threefold act upon Chrift crucified :
ift, A realizing act, representing all this in the greatest certainty and evidence that can be. These are no devised fables, but the fure and infallible reports of the gospel.
2dly, An applying act; "He loved me, and gave himself for 66 "Gal. iii. 20. "He loved us, and washed us from our
"fins in his own blood," Rev. i. 5.
3dly, and lastly, By an inferring or reafoning act. If Chrift died for me, then I fhall never die: If his blood were paid down for me, then my fins, which are many, are forgiven me : If he was condemned in my room, I am acquitted, and shall
be faved from wrath to come, through him. O how weighty do these thoughts prove to believing fouls!
1. Ufe, for information.
Then fure there is but little faith, because there is so much deadness and unaffectedness among profeffors. A believing fight of Chrift will work upon a gracious heart, as a dead fon, a béloved and only fon, uses to do upon a tender father's heart.
Reader, was it ever thy fad lot to look upon fuch an heartrending object? Didft thou ever feel the pangs and commotions in thy bowels that fome have felt upon fuch a fight? Why, fo will thy heart work towards Chrift, if ever thou believingly lookeft on him whom thou haft pierced.
Infer. 2. Then the acting and exercising of faith is the best expedient to get a tender heart, and raife the dead affections.
We are generally full of complaints how hard, how dead and stupid our hearts are; we are often putting fuch cases as thefe, how fhall I get a broken heart for fin: How shall I raise my dead heart in duty? Why this is the way, no expedient in all the world like this; look upon him whom thou haft pierced; it is the melting argument.
2. Ufe, of examination.
But that which I especially aim at in this point, is for the trial and examination of thy heart, reader, in the point of true evangelical repentance, which is thy proper bufinefs at this time; and I will go no further than the text for rules to examine and try it by.
Rule 1. All evangelical repentance hath a fupernatural spring, "I will pour out the Spirit of grace, and they fhall mourn. Till the Spirit be poured out upon us, it is as easy to press water out of a rock, as to make our hearts relent and mourn. There are indeed natural meltings, the effects of an ingenuous temper, but thefe differ in kind and nature from godly forrow.
Rule 2. Godly forrows are real, fincere, and undiffembled; "they fhall mourn, as for an only fon."
Parents need not any natural helps to draw tears on fuch accounts; O! their very hearts are pierced, they could even die with them; fighs, groans, and tears, are not hanged out as falfe figns of what is not to be found in their hearts.
Rule 3. Evangelical forrow is very deep; fo much the mourning for an only fon, a firft-born, muft import. These waters, how ftill foever they be, run deep, very deep, in the bottom channel of the foul. See Acts ii. 37. They were cut to the heart.
Rule 4. Faith is the inftrument employed in breaking the heart; they fhall look, and mouro." This is the burning-glafs that contracts the beams, and fires the affections.
Rule 5. Laftly, The wrong fin hath done to God, and the fufferings it hath brought Chrift under, are the piercing and heart-wounding confiderations. They fhall look upon me,
whom they have pierced, and mourn." The piercing of Chrift by our fin, is that which must pierce thy foul with for
JOHN vi. 55. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
N the context our Lord Jefus Chrift makes a moft fpiritual and excellent difcourfe to the Jews, about the nature and neceffity of faith in him; taking the occafion thereof from the bread, which a little before he had fo miraculously multiplied and fed them with railing up their minds to more fublime and fpiritual things, and letting them know that bread, how sweet foever it was, was but a fhadow of himself, infinitely more Tweet and neceffary. ;
Thefe words, are a propofition, in which are thefe three things obfervable:
First, The fubject; my flesh and my blood.
Secondly, The predicate; it is meat and drink.
Thirdly, The manner of predication; it is meat indeed, and drink indeed. ; i
First, The fubject; my flesh and my blood, i.se. my humanity; this is meat and drink, true fpiritual food. If it be demanded, why he had not faid, I am meat and drink indeed; but rather chufes to fay, my flesh and blood is fo? The reason is evident, faith learned Camero; becaufe if you take away flesh and blood from Chrift, he cannot be food or life to us for, in order to his being fo, he muft fatisfy God for us, and obtain the remiffion of our fins; but without hedding of blood there is no remiffion. Now, forafmuch as by the offering up VOL. VIII. Qq
of his body, and fhedding of his blood, he hath obtained pardon and life for us; therefore his flesh and his blood, is called our meat and our drink, that by which our fouls live. Which brings us to the fecond thing:
Secondly, The predicate; it is meat and drink: i. e. It is to our fouls of the fame ufe and neceffity, that meat and drink are to our natural life, which cannot be sustained, or continued without them.
The life of our fouls as neceffarily depends upon the flesh and blood of Chrift, as our natural life doth upon meat and drink. Yet beware of a mistake here: the flesh and blood, or the humanity of Chrift, is not the fountain of our*fpiritual life, but the channel rather through which it flows to us from his divinity. By reafon of his incarnation and death, righteoufnefs and life came to us.
Thirdly, The manner of predication is very emphatical; it is "meat indeed, and drink indeed." Which notes two things: Firft, Reality, in oppofition to all legal fhadows and types. Secondly, Tranfcendent excellency, far furpaffing all other food, even manna itself, which, for its excellency, is ftiled angels food. "My flesh is meat indeed," i. e. true, fubstantial, and real food to fouls, and choice, excellent, and incomparable food. Hence obferve,
Doct. That what meat and drink is to our bodies, that, and much more than that, the flesh and blood of Chrift is to believing fouls.
Two things require explication in this point. First, Wherein the resemblance, or agreement lies, betwixt the flesh and blood of Chrift, and meat and drink? Secondly, Wherein the former tranfcends and excels the latter?
1. Query. Wherein lies the refemblance and agreement between the flesh and blood of Christ, and material meat and drink?
Sol. The agreement is manifeft in the following particulars.
First, Meat and drink is neceffary to fupport natural life; we cannot live without it. Upon this account, bread is called the staff and ftay; i. e. the fupport of the natural fpirits, which do as much lean and depend upon it, as a feeble man doth upon his staff; Ifa. iii. 1. But yet how neceffary foever it be, the fiefh and blood of Chrift is more indifpenfibly neceffary for the life of our fouls; John vi. 53. Except ye eat the "flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no "life in you." Our fouls have more abfolute need of peace and pardon by Chrift, than our bodies have of meat and drink.
Better our bodies were ftarved and famished, than our fouls damned and loft for ever.
Secondly, Meat and drink are ever most sweet and defirable, to those that are hungry and thirsty. It is hunger and thirst, that gives value and estimation to meat and drink; Prov. xxvii. 7. "To the hungry foul, every bitter thing is sweet;" and fo it is in our esteem of Chrift; John vii. 37. "If any man
thirst, let him come to me, and drink." When God, by illumination and conviction, makes men deeply sensible of their miferable, loft, and perifhing condition: then ten thousand worlds for Chrift. All is but dung and drofs, in comparison of the excellency of Chrift Jefus,
Thirdly, Meat and drink must undergo an alteration, and lofe its own form, before it actually nourishes the body. The corn is ground to pieces in the mill, before it be made bread to nourish us. Aad Chrift must be ground betwixt the upper and nether milftone of the wrath of God, and malice of men, to be made bread for our fouls. The prophet faith, Ifa. lii, 14. His vifage is marred more than any man's. He did not look like himself, the beauty and glory of heaven; but the reproach of men, and defpifed of the people. Oh what an alteration did his incarnation and fufferings make upon him! Phil, ii. 6, 7. Quantum mutatus ab illo!
Fourthly, Natural food must be received into our bodies, and have a natural union with them; and Chrift must be received into our fouls, and have a spiritual union with them by faith; or else we can have no nourishment, or benefit by him. An empty profeffion, a mere talkative religion, nourishes the inner man, juft as much as the fight of meat, and our commending of it, doth our outward man. It is Christ's dwelling in our hearts by faith, Eph. iii. 17. our receiving of him, John i. 12. our eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, John vi. 53. i. e. The effectual application of Chrift to our fouls by faith, that makes us partakers of his benefits.
Fifthly, Meat and drink must be taken every day, or else natural life will languish; and fpiritual life will never be comfortably maintained in us, without daily communion with Jefus Chrift. If a gracious foul neglect, or be interrupted in its course of duties, and ftated times of prayer; it will be quickly difcernible by the Chriftian himself, in the deadnefs of his own heart; and by others alfo, in the barrennefs of his difcourfes, And in these things ftand the analogy, and agreement of the flesh and blood of Chrift, with meat and drink..