Page images
[ocr errors]

4. Some hold by the branch of human precepts and examples; their fear towards God is taught by the precepts of men, Isa. xxix. 13.; for which God there threatens to make the wisdom of their wise men to depart, and evanish into folly, ver. 14. When people make the precepts and examples of men, be they never so good, their rule, their Bible, no wonder that they turn aside into crooked paths, and be led forth with the workers of iniquity. I mentioned some heights formerly, that men attempt to climb in vain, and from which they must come down; I do not here resume them.

5. Some, I may add, hold by the branch of their own good purposes and resolutions; some by the branch of their own good duties and earnest prayers; but these confidences will fail you therefore, "Come down, Zaccheus ;" come down to Christ; "For many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able," because they come not down to Christ, and to the strait and narrow way so strait and narrow is the gate, that you cannot enter with the branch upon your back, whether the branch of sin and wickedness, or the branch of your legal services and righteousness.

6. Some hold by the branch of their good affections: they have been so and so affected in hearing and communicating; they have shed tears at ordinances sometimes, and wept abundantly; and therefore may they not expect that this will do them good, and render them the more acceptable to God? Nay, man, what a tender twig is that you are lippening to. You may be as joyfully affected at a comedy, or dreadfully affected with a tragedy is there any religion in these affections? or any thing beyond nature? or any real mark of grace therein? Nay: "Come down, Zaccheus," to the Jordan of the blood of Christ, and wash there, and not in the puddle of thy own tears, otherwise thou hast no part in Christ. Come down, and let him wash you, who says, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in



7. Some, again, hold by the branch of their own home-bred faith, saying, "We believe as well as we "can; and may we not hold there ?" Nay, nay:

"Come down, Zaccheus :" the object of faith is the author of faith, and the all of faith; yea, the act of faith, whereof we are the subject acting, is an owning Christ to be all, itself to be nothing. The faith of God's operation quits its hold of all things; and of itself too; and throws itself into Christ's arms, that he may take and keep hold of it.


Finally, Some hold by the branch of legal hopes and expectations, saying, "Why, if I cannot believe of myself, I will wait;" not doubting but this they can do: still some twig of old Adam they will hold by.But, "Come down Zaccheus ;" and know that you are not sufficient of yourself to think any thing as of yourself; your sufficiency must be of God in Christ; therefore, come down.

[2.] I shall endeavour to excite you by a few motives. Meantime, this call concerns sinners and saints both for, as unregenerate, proud nature, that is still aspiring to climb and clasp about the forbidden tree, needs to come down, so the remains of proud nature, in the regenerate, makes it the duty of saints to be still coming down. Honest communicants, though they have communicate never so worthily and acceptably, and have come down to entertain Christ in their house, and heart; yet, through the remaining power of natural pride and self, being ready always to put confidence, even in received graces, frames, enlargements, attainments, or some old-covenant twig; some good thing done by them, or wrought in them, instead of trusting only to the righteousness of Christ, and living wholly upon the grace that is in him; therefore, they need daily to be coming down, and walking humbly with their God, and keeping themselves down with him in the low valley.

The exhortation then concerns sinners and saints both and, for motives, consider,

1. That the market of grace is as low as ever it was; therefore come down, if you would buy the pearl of great price. Here you may buy cheap, and sell dear: "Buy the truth, and sell it not." You are to buy the pearl for nothing, by taking it freely; but you may not

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

sell it for a thousand worlds. Here is the richest pearl, for the lowest price. It is to be had at a lower rate than ever you, or any mortal could have expected. If you bid high, you cannot have it; the market is as low as your heart could wish. Christ offers himself freely to the vilest and blackest sinner here; and if you cannot think or imagine it is so, then I must tell you, that the market of grace is lower than you can imagine it is, or than your proud heart can think it is. Your lofty spirit thinks always there must be some terms or conditions required of you as the price; but come down for the market is fallen far below your price. For, as all things are ready to your hand; so all things are to be had without money, and without price, Isa. lv, 1. It is lower than you can think it; therefore, come down with every high thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.

2. Come down; for, while you are climbing too high, you are in danger of falling, and breaking your neck. It was by climbing too high at first that our first parents fell down to the pit of ruin. The prevalence of that temptation, "Ye shall be as gods," made them fall into such a low state, that instead of being as gods, they became as devils. Again,

3. Consider further, That you must come down with a vengeance, if you come not down by choice to Christ, when he calls you. "God has sworn by himself, that every knee shall bow to him," 1sa. xlv. 23. Rom. xiv. 11. If you come not down to kiss the Son, voluntarily, with a kiss of subjection; you must be brought down violently and wrathfully; therefore, come down," Lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little," Psalm ii, 12.

4. Consider, That God hath come down already in many tokens of his wrath, against us, and the generation, because of our delaying and refusing to come down to Christ, to give him entertainment in our hearts and houses: unbelief, in refusing the kind offers of Christ in the gospel, is the mother sin, that is fertile and productive of all other sins, in so far as it is a refusing subjection to Zion's King, and setting ourselves above him,

and above his word and will. For this the wrath of God is come down in many respects, insomuch that wrath is upon all ranks. Signs of his anger and absence are upon nobility, gentry, and commonalty; signs of it upon the Judicatories of the established Church; and signs of it upon Seceders, and professed witnesses for truth. The anger of the Lord hath gone forth against all ranks.

5. Down-coming days seem to be hastening; and therefore, make haste, and come down. It may be these instances of divine wrath are but the beginning of sorrows; and, indeed, "If judgments begin at the house of God, where will they end?" Days of great tribulation seem to be hastening on; church trouble, national trouble, family trouble, and personal trouble; and whether you will or not, you must come down to the gates of death and the grave. The day of death is hastening; therefore make haste, and come down to Christ.

6. If ye do not come down, ye cannot come speed. Many come up to ordinances, they come up to communion solemnities: but they do not come speed, they reap no success, because they do not come down. They come best speed who come down to Jesus' feet, to wash them, and wipe them with the hair of their head.

7. Consider that to come down is the way to come up, even as humiliation is the way to exaltation; "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you." Yea, the farther down you come, the farther up will you mount. The deeper root you take downward, the more fruit will ye bring forth upward, to the praise and glory of God. For,

8. Consider, the great and high God loves to come down, and dwell with those who come down; " Thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a humble and contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones," Isa. lvii. 15. He loves to come down to be all in them, that come down to be A a


nothing in their own eyes. He loves to come down and dwell with those that dwell low; and to come down and sit with those who sit in the dust. His voice is, "Come down, and sit in the dust," Isa. xlvii. 1. And afterwards his voice will be, "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust," Isa. xxvi. 19. He will go down with them, and dwell with them, till he bring them up; even down to the grave with them, from thence to bring them up; "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you,” Rom. viii. 11.

[3.] We shall now close with a word of direction. Would you fall in with this call, to make haste, and come down to Christ; there are two advices I would give. 1. Study, through grace, to open your eyes to see him. 2. To open your ears to hear him; for, if ye but see his face, and hear his voice, you will quickly come down to him.

1. Study to open your eyes to see him; and there is a twofold look you are to take of him. 1. To look down and see how low he was. 2. To look see how high he is.

up, and

(1.) Look down, and see how low he was in his state of humiliation. Christ came down to you, and for you, that you might come down to him; he came down to this earth, in assuming your nature; down to the womb of a virgin; down to a manger; down to a sorrowful life: down to a shameful death; down to the grave !-O sirs, has God come so far down to you, and will you not come down to him? O proud sinner, it well becomes you to come down to his feet, down to the dust, down to nothing before him. Yea, he has not given over coming down to you; for, now he comes down by his word, and down by his Spirit, to deal with you to come down to him.

(2.) Look up, and see how high he is, in his state of exaltation at the Father's right-hand. The higher he is, the lower doth he look down towards you: and the lower he looks down, and deigns to cast his eye upon

« PreviousContinue »