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shining sun, he puts out his candles, he needs them no more.
Our heart has that piece of prudence, that it must fasten one foot before it loose another; and therefore, according as the claim to God is stronger or weaker, the claim to the world and lusts, will in like manner be proportioned.Here I would propose, and say a word or two to three Cafes.
Cafe 1. I am afraid of presumption. Anf: Draw near with a true heart, press only through the 'vail to make
your claim. Claim for a rest to your soul, and for sanctification, as was said before ; and there is no presumption. Have you taken him as your own God ? Avow your
claim to him as such : Dishonour not God by casting a cloak of pretended humility over your unbelief.
Case 2. But can such an unworthy creature as I make such a claim ? Ans. If you will not, then I hope you will not claim pardon, grace, or heaven; but you will, you must quit your claim to all these at once, for you must not think to claim there from a God that is not yours in Christ. Will you then, without reluctance, quit your claim to all these ? If not, then claim him, though unwor. thy. Why talk of unworthiness ? Will you ever be worthy of him? No, no; the claim of faith is over the belly of felt unworthiness, and founded on the blood of Christ alone.
I would have claimed God in Christ as my God, and I even did it; but Satan has got advantage already of me, and I had to quit the hold. Who ordered you to quit your hold even in that cafe ? Not God, I am sure; for he faith,
“ Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward;" therefore it has been Satan and your own unbelieVOL. II. въ
Heb. x. 35:
And are you not in a poor case for rising up again out of the mire now, when you have let go your hold of God, as your God in Christ? This is not the way to rise, your best course is, to act faith again, and renew that claim which you have formerly made, for grace, in order both to justification and fanctification, Ezra, ix. 6. Pfal. Ixv. 3. Jonah, ii. 12.---I now come to the
3. Thing in drawing near to God with full afsurance, which was, that you improve your claimed interest for all your necessities, without doubting of success. Christ has opened heaven to you; and if you have come in through the vail, taken God in Christ as your God, and claimed him as such, he would have you to be familiar in his Father's house, and want nothing which is there suitable to your condition ; but to put out the hand of faith, with full assurance, that you are as welcome to the heavenly treasures as the blood that purchased them can make you ; and that is, welcome to the full. I doubt not but this is the import of the text. Poor empty creature, thou canst not subsist without communion with heaven; but thou must drink of the fountain, before thou canst meddle with the streams ; himself must be thine, before the least article of the furniture of the house can be thine ; therefore thou must take God in Christ for
your God, then you must claim him, and, having claimed him, be familiar with him, and all that is his, in the way of believing.-In explaining this, I shall shew,
1. How the believer should be familiar in the house over which Christ is set, and thus draw near with full assurance. II. Why he should be so familiar.
I. We are to shew, how the believer should be familiar in the house over which Christ is set, and thus draw near with fullafsurance.--Upon this I observe, that he should,
1. Come and tell him all his wants freely, without concealing any thing from him, for this would argue distance and diftruft: Song, vii. 11.“ Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages." Faith has a most enlarged delire, it is always in wait of something, and its work is to beg, to take freely without money and without price ; and for that reason it is pitched upon as the great mean of communion betwixt God and sinners; Rom. iv. 16. “ Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the feed.” And the stronger faith is, it spreads out the more wants, and spreads them out the more freely before the Lord, as to a friend.
you want any thing as to which you cannot tell the Lord ? It argues either no real need, or else little faith Strong faith is a free communer in heaven, and will conceal nothing, but tell-all : Ephef. ii. 12. “ In whom we have boldness and access, with confi. dence, by the faith of him.” (Boldness, Gr. telling all). He should,
2. Come and seek all he needs, without blushing : Heb. iv. 16. “Let us therefore come boidly to the throne of
that we may find mercy, and obtain grace to help in time of need.” Faith coming in within the vail, comes into a friend's house; and the more free and familiar it is there, and the less reserved, the more welcome. There are two seekers that do not blush before the Lord in their asking : 1. A proud unhumbled heart, whose sense of need is very small; and these, for their shamelessness, get the door cast on
B b 2
their face : 1 Peter, v. 5.“ For God refifteth the proud.” Luke, i. 5.“ And the rich he fendeth empty away.” 2. A strong faith, whofe sense of need is very great, which drives away the unbelieving blushes out of the face ; and such shameless seekers never get a denial in heaven: Luke,xi. 8. “ Yet because of his importunity, Gr. shamelefinefs), he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”
There is a blefled shameleffness in faith with full afsurance ; it makes persons very familiar in God's house. It can come there at any time, it keeps no set hours, it can step forward at midnight, (Luke, xi. ;-) when doors used to be shut, and knock at the gates, without fear of giving disturbance. It was a dark night to Job; God had drawn a fable covering over the face of his throne to him ; yet faith goes forwards, and draws it by, Job, xiii. 15. 16. (quoted above). See also II. Isiii. 15. 16. It can plead the relation of a friend to the master of the house. The believer itands in many relations to the Lord, and faith fixes on that relation which will serve its plea beit. If the foul be under particular neceffities, where it must have a friend's help, the soul will claim the help of God as its friend, notwithstand. ing the infinite disproportion between the relatives. And in this case, it can be very full in its demands : Luke, xi. 5. « Lend me three loaves." Possibly less night serve a friend on a journey, who is to tarry only a night, but strong faith is not to be dealt with scrimply. It must have what will be enough and to spare, for it desires to be more than a conqueror.–Faith thinks 110 shame to complain of an empty house at home, Luke, xi. 6. and that it has nothing to set before this stranger. The report faith brings to heaven,
is still of emptiness, for they that live by faith are always from hand to mouth, and never want an errand to the God of heaven for some supply or other. Finally, It can confidently borrow, without one word of paying again. See the whole of our Saviour's parable, the design of which is to recommend importunity at the throne of grace, Luke, xi. 5.-10. This is the way of faith's trading with heaven, without money in hand, and without price to be paid. For faith just in. volves the soul in the debt of free grace, and can trade at no other market, for no other is suited for the bankrupt family of Adam.
3. He should even put out his hand, and draw to him, by believing the promises suited to his case, and this with a faith of application : Matth. xxi. 22. “ And all things whatsoever ye shall alk in prayer, believing, ye shall receive them.” It is the business of faith, to read the person's particular name in the general promise, and to fill up his own name in these promises, which are, as it were, God's blank bills and bonds, and then come forward with them even to his seat, with David's plea : Psal. cxix.
« Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope." And this without doubting. They can never be familiar with heaven, who stand afar off from the promises.---Thou shouldst believe that the promises shall be made out; they are the words of truth, which shall have a certain accomplishment. And though the unbelieving world take them but for fair wards, thou takeft them for sure words, which are full of mercy, and shall not miscarry, but shall surely be accomplished at the set time: Psal. xii. 6. « The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Again, believe that they shall