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Inhould be deceived? What if Jesus Christ do not 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 moft veheinent Aame ; Q. d. Lord, if thou leave me in the midst of these jealoufies of thy love, I shall be but a torment to myself; I shall live as one upon the rack, or in the flames. Hence the note is, Doct. That there is nothing in this world, which trite Chrifti
ans more earnestly desire, than to be well assured and satisfied of the tove of Jesus Chrift to their fouls. In the meditation of this point, two things must be enquired ioto :
İ. Why this affuránce is fo desirable.
ź. How it may be obtained. i. Why the assurance of the love of Christ is so desirable in the eyes of true Christians. And among others, there are two things that especially make it fo; viż.
1. The sweetness of its enjoyment.
2. The difficulty of its attainment. The sweetness of its enjoymeöt, which is inexpressible, and inconceivable ; for it is a mercy above all estimation. It is,
1. The riches of faith,
Ś. A fweet support in all troubles. 1. 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 affurance of each of them is the most sweet and pleafaot part. Koowledge, above knowledge, is the full assurance of knowledge : hope above hope, is the full alsurance of bope: and faith above faith; is the full afforance of faith. The lealt and lowest act of fav. ing faith is precious, and above all value ; what theo must the highest and most excellent acts of faith be? Certainly, there is a sweetness in the assurance of faith, that few men have the privilege to taste ; aod theỳ that do, can find do words able to express it to another's understanding. The weakest Christian is exalted above all other men , but the assured Christian hath preference before all other Christians. 2. It is heart's cale; the very Sabbath and sweet repose of
the soul. Thousands of poor Christians would part with all they poffefs in this world, to enjoy it: but it flies 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 feysible workings of grace ; then all is dalhed again, by the contrary stirrings and workings of their own corruptions. Now the sun shines out clear, by and by the heavens are overcast and clouded agaia : but the alfured Christian is at rest, from those tormentiog fears aod jealou sies which my text speaks of, that are as cruel as the grave, and as insufferable as coals of fire in a man'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 affured believer consider, and compare ; and he must needs find a joy and pleasure, beyond the joy of the whole earth. If he consider wel what he is assured of, it is so common mercy, but Chrilt himself, and his love ; a mercy incomprehensible by men or angels; Eph. iih 19. Put Christ into the fepsible poffeffion of a believer, and joy is no more under his com maod 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 dow, with what it was, and what it shall be. To think with thyself thus, I am assured of Christ, 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 enjoy fuch a mercy as this. Yea, the time was, when I myself was far from it, in my unregenerate state. Lord, how is it I had not then been sealed to damoation? 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 meod 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 satisfaction of my very heart. O, what pleafure doth every glance, backward or forward, give to the sealed foul.
4. It is a cordial in death; and there is oode 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 Christian's may indeed shrink back from it, and be afraid of the exchange;
but the assured foul longs to be gone, and needs patience to five, 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 bitter 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 soul such fupport and comfort, that he fhall not say, I am sick. Sin being forgiven, the soul is well, when the body is in pain, Ifa. xxxiii. 24. Let him be caft into a prison, here is that which will turn 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
thiogs," 2 Cor. vi. 10. Thas you see how defirable it is for its own excellency.
2. Aod as it is desirable for the sweetness of its own enjoymer, fo also from the difficulty of its attainment. All 'excellencies are locked
under many difficulties; but done like this. It is indeed easy to presume an interest in Christ, and cheat a man's own soul with a dream and fancy of our own creation ; but it is hard, to get a sealed, clear title to Christ and his benefits. And there be, among others, three thiog's that make it difficult.
(1.) The corruptions that remain, and daily work in the best hearts ; these are evermore puzzling and scaring the poor foul, with fears and doubts about its condition. Grace teacheth men due feverity to themselves ; and fear of their own deceitfuloess, makes them thiok no hearts are like their hearts; especially whilft they compare other mens outfide with their owo in side, as generally they do. Oh, how do our own corruptions every moment raise mists and clouds, that it is a won. der we ever should have one clear beam of assurance thioiog in. to fuch hearts, as our hearts are !
(2.). The multitudes of mistakes and cheats, that are frequently committed, and found in this matter, makes upright hearts the more suspicious and doubtful of their own condition. O when they read Matth. vij. 22. that many will say to Christ in that day, Lord, we have prophesied in thy name, &c. it scares them, left they also be deceived.
(3.) The grand importance of the matter, makes poor souls feartul of concluding certainly about it. O when a man con
șiders, that the whole weight of his eternal happiness or misery, depends upon the resolution of these quelliops, Am I in Chrift; or am I not ? it will make him tremble to determine, lo a word, assurance is not in our power, or at our command. 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 true 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 first thing; Upon what account the asurance of Christ's love is so defirable in the eyes of Christians.
2. In the last place, let us confider, how this mercy, which is so desirable, may be obtained: And this is our proper work ånd business at this time.
You are now come to a fealing ordinance, institored on por pose for this poble end and use. O that we would
pray plead for it, as the fpouse here doch!“ Set me as a seal upon * chinc heart, as a feal upon thiae arm : for love is strong as " death ; jealousy is cruel as the grave," 6. Now, in order to the attainment of this moft desirable mercy, take a few necessary hinış of your present work and daty, in the following directions.
Direction L, Would you be well fecured of Christ's love to you, and that' you are set as a seal upon his heart? Then exer: cife and manifeft more love to Chrift, and let him be much up on your hearts. If it be clear to you, that you have true love to Jesus Christ, you need not at all to doubt, but you are in his heart, and in his love: I love them that love me, Prov. viii. 17. And surely you have now before you the greatelt motive in 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 Chrilt's love draw forth thine, it will fo far clear thy interest in his love, as it fall 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 and 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, viz
1. To realize.
3. To infer, from the sufferings of Jesus Chrift.
2. Apply the sufferings of Chrift this day to thige owo foul : Believe all this to be done and luffered in thy room, and for thy fake. He offered oot this facrifice for his owo fios, but ours 5 Ifa. liii. 9. Heb. vii. 27. He was iocaroate for you, lfa. ix. 6. ? For us a child is born ; to us a son is given," His death was for you, and in your lead, Gal. iii.
“ He was made a curle do 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
s lives, to make intercession for os. It was the pride, paffion, earthliness, and unbelief of thy heart, which Jesus Chrift groaned, bled, and died, to procure a pardoo for.
3. Infer from the sufferings of Chrif, those conclusions of faith that tend 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. Agaio ; Is Christ dead for me? Theo I shall never die eternally. Nothing shall " leparate me • from the love of God; it is Christ that died,” Rom. viii. 34.
Direction III. Mourd over all those lips, that cause the Lord to hide his face from your souls. Have you grieved the Spirit by your sios? 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 mourn as for ao only fod." Though there be no merit, yer there is much mercy in a broken heart for fio; and there is no fuch advantage to get your hearts broken, as this is, which is now before you. When the thower of repentance is fallen, the heavens over thee inay be clear, and the fup Shine out in its brightness upon thy soul.
Direction IV. Jo a word; pour out thy soul to God, in hearty