Posted on the Predestinarian Baptist Yahoo Group with the following note:
“Elder John O’Brien, Pastor of the Old Faith Baptist Church and Chief of Police in Paris, Arkansas, placed this old work into MS Word at my request, Ron Pound.”
L O S T S I N N E R
Sought, and saved by Christ:
God’s people are a holy people.
Being the sum of diverse sermons preached
Who for this doctrine hat the meeting house doors
Shut against him, and was stoned out of the pulpit
As he was preaching by a rude multitude, who were
Gathered together and set on by a malignant High-
Which has been proven by diverse witnesses of good reputation
Before the honorable Committee of Examination at London.
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
And they took Paul and drew him out of the temple and forthwith the doors were shut.
For which of these works do you stone me?
1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice, in as much as you are partakers of Christâ€™s suffering.
LONDON, Printed by J A N E C O E, according to order. 1645.
Committee of Examinations:
Grace and peace from GOD, through CHRIST.
It may be judged an act of great boldness in me (who am under the examination of this honorable committee) to dedicate my poor labors at Debenham, and Stradbrook to your patronage. Especially to publish them to the world, had not the hard reports of some persons (too much credited by many) constrained me to vindicate first, the truth, and in the next place to give satisfaction to many who have heard those reports. I should not have been so bold. The consciousness of my own inability and the knowledge of the profitable labors of many both learned and godly has to this time and still had justly hindered me from publishing anything by print to the view of the world. Wherefore I (being enforced to print my sermons) present them to your honors wherein you have the sum and substance of all that I preached in Suffolk (as many witnesses have testified.) For my main endeavors there was to exalt Christ and to press my hearers to sanctification in heart and life. And if the Lord shall please to make my poor labors a blessing to any, He will get glory. And I have my reward with Him. Howsoever, I humbly submit both myself and my book to the examinations and determination of this honorable committee.
Your honors to serve you in the Lord,
The apostle Paul, who was a chosen vessel unto the Lord to bear His name before the gentiles, Acts 19:15, wrote this epistle to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, which were at Colosse. Chapter 1, verse 2 and as the ensign-bearer of his glorious name displayed the magnificence and transcendent excellency of Christ in the words of the text. Christ is all, and in all. And that he might lift up Christâ€™s all-sufficiency, he nullifies all other excellencies whatsoever, chapter 3, verse 11, where he gives the Colossians to understand that the advantage of a Jew above a gentile, the dignity of a Scythian above a Barbarian, or the immunities of a freeman above a bondslave, however esteemed amongst men, are nothing without Christ, Who is all, and in all. These words have their dependence upon the exhortation unto mortification, chapter 3, verse 5, which exhortation the apostle pressed upon the Colossians by telling them in verses 9 and 10 they had put off the old man with his deeds and had put on the new man, &c. Where (that is) in which state of regeneration there is neither Greek, nor Jew, &c., but Christ is all in all. The lesson to be learned hence is this, to wit,
Doctrine: Christ is all and in all in the new man.
Two things need some explanation in this doctrine, viz. First, whom does the new man here mean? And secondly, how Christ is all and in all in the new man. By the new man here, we are to understand (as was intended by the apostle) a true believer, or a faithful brother in Christ, one sanctified in Christ Jesus, called a saint, who is redeemed in the spirit of his mind and has put on the new man, Ephesians 4:23, 24. Which is done when by the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit in the promises given to us, we are made partakers of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1:3, 4. Non per participationem Essentia, sed per communicationem Spiritus & gratiae ejus. Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 4:6. Thus being by the Spirit and faith united with Christ. We are made a new creature or creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17, have a new heart, Ezekiel 36:26, 27, and walk in newness of life, Romans 6:4. And such may be said to have put on the new man. The sum then is thisâ€”Christ is all, and in all, in every true believer, in every justified-sanctified person, who has a new heart and walks in newness of life.
Touching the second particular, to wit, How Christ is all, and in all, in the new man. The Lord Jesus Christ (who is all in Himself, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, Colossians 2:9, which was the pleasure of God that in all things He might have the pre-eminence, Colossians 1:18, 19) is all and in all in the new man. First, fundamentally, I mean Christ is the foundation of all, 1 Corinthians 3:11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. I say Christ is the foundation of all that faith, repentance, love, and other graces, gifts, and fruits of the Spirit, which are in every true believer. He is a living fountain full of grace and from his fullness have we all received grace for grace, John 1:14, 16. Secondly, communicatively, I mean, Christ does communicate all unto the new man, to wit, life, light, grace, and glory, &c. We have nothing but what we have received and we have received all from his fullness, Ephesians 4:7, John 1:16. The titles given to Christ in the scripture of truth will make this appear more fully, viz. that Christ is all in the new man, or in every true believer. I shall instance some.
First, Christ is our life, Colossians. Christ is the life of a believer, even eternal life, 1 John 5:11, 12. That is to say, the everlasting spiritual wellbeing of a believer is by union and communion with Jesus Christ in whom he lives a life of grace here and with whom he shall live a life of glory hereafter. Yea, all those spiritual breathings of the hunger-thirsting soul, after the enjoyment of God in any of His holy ordinances are from Christ. And from Him are all those quickening and all that life we have in prayer, preaching, conference, and other spiritual duties. In a word, the Spirit of life Himself, Who so sweetly refreshes the weary soul, comforts the sorrowful heart, and quickens the sanctified affections, is from Christ. And He is called the Spirit of the Son, Galatians 4:6, Whom God sends forth into the hearts of His children.
Secondly, Christ is the true light of every believer, or in the new man. That was the true light, John 1:9, even Jesus Christ, Who enlightens the eyes of our understanding that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us, who believe, Ephesians 1:17-19. And though the hearts of men and women be very dark, yet God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness has shined it in our hearts (who are believers) to give light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:6. And the apostle tells the sanctified Ephesians that they were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, Ephesians 5:8. And indeed, all that heavenly knowledge and spiritual understanding, which believers have in the mystery of the gospel, they had it from Christ in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Colossians 2:2, 3.
Thirdly, Christ is the bread of life to believers, John 6:35, 48, 51. He is the spiritual meat and drink for our souls, Who believe in him, they that eat Him shall live by Him, John 6:55, 57. All that spiritual nourishment, and soul-refreshment, which believers have in promises, duties, ordinances, &c. is from Christ, Whose flesh is meat indeed, and His blood is drink indeed, communicated by His Holy Spirit unto His people in those duties, promises, ordinances, &c. Christ is milk and wine to be had without money, Isaiah 55:1, that will quench the thirst of the new-born babes in Christ, which so much desired the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby, 1 Peter 2:2, 3, and that will make the mournful spirit of a doubting or backsliding believer to have a cheerful countenance when his broken heart is cheered and warmed, yea, melted and comforted with the blood of Christ his Redeemer. Christ is water of life, a pure river of living water clear as crystal, flows from this fountain in the hearts of believers, Revelation 22:1, 17, John 7:37, 38 and John 4:10, 12, 14. This will satisfy the thirsty soul, as Christ promised, Matthew 5:7, 11. Therefore, He cried if any man thirst let him come to me and drink. Christ is the tree of life, which bears twelve manner of fruits and yields her fruit every month, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations, Revelation 22:2. Christ is said to make a feast of wine and fat things full of marrow, Isaiah 25:6, and He thus speaks to believers, Eat, O Friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, O my beloved, Canticles 5:1. I might be exceeding large in particularizing many other His titles as namely, Christ is a believerâ€™s justification, sanctification, redemption, 1 Corinthians 1:30. He is also our peace, Ephesians 2:14, our Righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6, our Advocate with the Father, 1 John 2:1, 2, our King, High Priest, and Prophet, our Father, Husband, Brother, our all. Thus it may appear that Christ is all in the new man. But how is Christ all in all in the new man?
I conceive it is spoken by way of pre-eminence as it is expressed, Colossians 1:18, 19, that is, in all which is in the new man, or in a believer, Christ ought to have the pre-eminence.
First, as He is the Author thereof. For instance, that precious faith of Godâ€™s elect, which is in the new man is an excellent grace, but yet Christ must have the pre-eminence above that faith because He is the Author of it, Hebrews 12:2, and so above all other graces, gifts, and fruits of the Spirit.
Secondly, as He is the preserver of all in the new man, every believer is called and sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ, Jude 1. And the believer is not only preserved in the state of grace by Christ, but the grace of God wrought in him, to wit, faith, &c. is by Christ preserved also, namely, by the intercession of Christ, I have prayed for you that your faith fails not.
Thirdly, as He is the Finisher, Who strengthens, establishes, and perfects all in the new man. Christ is not only the Author, but the Finisher of our faith, Hebrews 12:2. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending of all those graces, gifts, and fruits of the Spirit, which are in the new man, Revelation 1:8. Thus Christ is all, and in all, in the new man. He is the Author, Preserver, and Finisher of all. He purchased all. He is the Donor of all. He is the beauty of all, the sum of all, the perfection of all in the new man.
This was the good pleasure of the Fatherâ€™s will that all the fullness, all sufficiency, all spirituality should dwell in Christ and should by Christ be communicated to His people that in all things Christ might have the pre-eminence, Colossians 1:18, 19. And thus God will have it done to the man Christ Jesus, Whom He declared to honor for the service Christ did unto His Father in the redemption of His people; therefore, He gave Him a name above every name, Christ is all, and in all. Which honor and dignity Christ will at the last day prostrate at the feet of His Father that God may be all in all, 1 Corinthians 15:28. Moreover, this being the design of God that Christ should communicate all grace, gifts, &c. unto His people, it was requisite that all fullness should be in Christ, and so we read, John 1:14, 16. Yea, the great necessity of the Lordâ€™s redeemed ones to have constant supply of grace and spiritual gifts, also a continual growth of the fruits of the Spirit requires this all-fullness to be in Christ.
Seeing Christ is all, and in all in the new man, let us hence be instructed. First, to prize Christ highly, to set an high esteem upon Christ, to let him have the pre-eminence, Who is all in all. It is that which the prophet complained of in Isaiah 53:3. He, to wit Christ, was despised, and rejected of men and we esteemed him not. We are apt to slight Christ and to disesteem him because we discern not that beauty, excellence, riches, and glory, which is in Him. We are ignorant of the worth of Christ and know not our need of Him. And therefore we do not so prize him as we ought. These two considerations I desire to propound as motives to prize Christ.
First, Christ His worth, which I may hint unto you in three particulars, to wit, first, the invaluable preciousness of His blood, which has in it a cleansing virtue, 1 John 1:7, 9. And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. Thereof we are said to be justified by His blood, Romans 5:9. Let me ask you who now believe. How did you esteem of this precious blood of Christ? When you were fighting out your mournful requests to God in secret corners for one drop of Christâ€™s blood, one dram of the grace of God and faith of God His Elect, one word of promise, one smile of a reconciled Father, or one beam of the light of Godâ€™s countenance, did you not prize the blood of Christ above all corruptible things, as silver and gold, honor, riches, pleasure, &c. Did you not esteem the least drop of it more precious than all creature comforts whatsoever, as friends, liberties, and life? Again, the precious blood of Christ has a purging quality, Hebrews 9:14. The blood of Christ shall purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God. Sin does both contract guiltiness and pollution, and therefore the blood of Christ does both cleanse and purge pardon, and purify; therefore, we are said to be sanctified by the blood of Christ, Hebrews 13:12. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Oh, beloved, what can be esteemed so precious to a gracious heart, as this blood of Christ, which washes away all those defilements and uncleanness, which through our corruptions cleave unto us, even in our best actions, and holy duties. Such of you, as have many times groaned in prayer to God under the sealing sense and fight of any corruption, know by experience what high esteem you have had of the blood of Christ to save you from your uncleanness.
Secondly, the unsearchable riches of His grace, Ephesians 3:8. To me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given that I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Christâ€™s riches are of such an height, depth, length and breadth, that passes knowledge. Yea, this much is spoken of the love of Christ, Ephesians 3:18, 19. Also, faith in Christ is called precious faith, 2 Peter 1:1. To them that have obtained the like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Yea, all the graces of Christ are the riches of the poor saints, James 2:5. God has chosen of the poor of the world, rich in grace &c. Tell me, beloved, how did you esteem of the riches of Christ when you being poor in spirit mourned for Christ and His grace when you discerned faith, love, humility, &c. in others of the children of God? Did you prize it highly in them? Did you not account them happy, rich, and blessed whom Christ had enriched with those jewels and adorned with such graces? Ah, how much more should you now prize Christ, in whom is all fullness of these unsearchable riches, and especially considering that from His fullness you have received grace for grace, John 14:14, 16.
Thirdly, the glorious liberties of His Spirit. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, 2 Corinthians 3:17. Not any carnal liberty to sin and so fulfill the lusts of the flesh, Galatians 5:13, but the spiritual liberty and freedom from sin. I mean not a perfect and total freedom from all sin, as if people of God could never sin after conversion. For if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, 1 John 1:8, 10. But I mean a freedom. First, from the guilt of sin, Romans 8:33. And the apostle says in Colossians 2:13 That he has forgiven us all trespasses.
Secondly, from the pollution or filth of sin, Zechariah 13:1. A fountain set open to believers for sin and for uncleanness. And Ezekiel 36:25, 29. God promises they shall be clean and He will save them form all their uncleanness.
Thirdly, from the reigning power of sin, Romans 6:14. Sin shall not have dominion over you under grace.
Fourthly, from the punishment due for sin, which is the curse of the law, Galatians 3:13 or condemnation, Romans 8:1, or any other satisfactory punishment.
Second point, the great need you have of Christ, may move you to prize him and set an high esteem of him. Christ is the only thing necessary, and therefore the titles given him in the scripture are such as declare His usefulness to believers. For He is our Life, Light, our Bread, Water, Milk, Wine, His flesh our meat indeed, His blood our drink indeed. He is our Father, our Husband, our Brother, our Friend, our King, our Priest, and Prophet. He is our justification, sanctification, redemption. He is our peace, our all. We can have no access to God, but by His mediation, no acceptance with God without His intercession, Revelation 8:3, 4. We cannot resist the next temptation, neither can we overcome the next corruption, nor shall we be able to suffer with patience the next persecution, or endure any tribulation unless we have renewed strength from Christ. Believers have received that grace they have from Christ, John 15:1, 2. Lord, increase our faith, said the disciples. Neither can they persevere in grace unless they be preserved in Christ, Jude 1. To conclude, we are nothing, have nothing, can do nothing without Christ, John 15:5. Without me you can do nothing. That is to say, you cannot in your own strength nor in the strength of any grace received, do anything to please God or to glorify God without me. Unless you abide in me and have renewed ability and strength from me, you can do nothing that God my Father will own or crown with acceptance or reward. But yet we, who are believers, have all and abound, Philippians 4:18. Can do all things through Christ that strengthens us, Philippians 4:13. Can suffer the loss of all, Philippians 3:7-9. Yea, and conquer all, nay, be more than conquerors through Christ, Romans 8:35-39. Oh, consider your need of Christ and learn to prize Him. Let Him be exalted highest in your hearts as the pearl of greatest worth, as the one thing necessary, which you most of all need. Let Him be all in all in your communication and conversation.
Second Use. Seeing Christ is all and in all in the new man, let everyone examine whether Christ be in him, 2 Corinthians 13:5. Examine yourselves. Know you not that Christ is in you &c. This nearly concerns you beloved for if you have Christ, you have all. Christ is all but if you lose Him, you lose all. You will lose your hopes, comforts, and all your duties. Yea, you will lose God, heaven and soul and all. It matters not what you have if you want Christ. No gifts, duties, reformations, qualifications, or other things whatsoever will make you happy without Christ. And if you enjoy Christ it is not material whatever you want. For my God, says the apostle, shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:19. Therefore, make sure that Christ is yours. Some would ask this questionâ€”how shall I so examine that I may know assuredly that I have Christ? I answer you must bring your hearts to the touchstone of the word of God and cast them into the balance of the sanctuary and weigh them there. And to this purpose I shall propound one scripture of truth for your examination and trial, to wit, 2 Corinthians 5:17. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, or creation. That is to say, he is new-born, born again, or born of God, John 1:12, 13. But as many as receive him, &c. which were born of God. And our Savior urged the necessity of this new birth, John 3:3, 5, 7, 8. Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. He cannot enter into the kingdom of God, verse 5. Now every one who is a new creature in Christ, all things have become new in him, or all things are made new (as in the Greek . Ecce nova facta sunt omnia) To wit, first he is made a new man, Ephesians 4:21-24; Colossians 3:10, 11, and has put on the new man where Christ is all and in all. Secondly, he has a new heart, Ezekiel 36:26. A new heart also will I give you &c. That is a new will and new affections, yea and a new spirit will I put within you, verse 26. That is (Ephesians 4:23) to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, to wit, a new judgment or spiritual understanding in the knowledge of Godâ€™s will, Colossians 1:9. Thirdly, he walks in newness of life, Romans 6:4. Even so we also should walk in newness of life. That is, the conversation of a new creature should be such as becomes the gospel, Philippians 1:27, to wit, humble, harmless, and holy, 1 Peter 1:15, 16. And thus God has promised in the everlasting covenant of grace. That all and every one of His people shall walk, Ezekiel 36:27. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, &c. Examine yourselves. Are you a new creature? Such of you as have not put off the old man, but still have your old hearts and your old sins, and walk in your old ways, and fulfill the old lusts of your sinful natures, are not a new creature. You are not in Christ or Christ in you.
But some may thus say within themselves, I hope my soul is in a better condition. I am not as wicked and carnal as some others are. Neither am I as vile a sinner as I have been formerly, but I am somewhat reformed and have forsaken my sinful courses and begin to delight to hear sermons, and I pray with my family. To this I would answer that although your condition be not as desperate as others, who have lived long under ordinary means of grace, and yet are not at all wrought upon. I must tell you, professors may through strong convictions, horror of conscience, and fears of hell, leave the acts of some sins, and may customarily perform some religious duties, &c. yet be not regenerated. Professors may have leaves like the unfruitful fig tree, and lamps like the five foolish virgins. They may seem to be religious and have a form of Godliness and not be a new creature, or creation. I might instance many such in the scriptures. Herod in Mark 6:20. He heard John gladly, and did many things. Saul in 1 Samuel 10:6, 9 was turned into another man, had another heart, yet unconverted. So, you may be another man, and not a new man, may have another heart, but not a new heart.
But I speak not this to add sorrow to the afflicted, nor to break the bruised, for though some may deceive themselves herein, yet such of you as are born again, or born of God, though but newborn babes, who have put on the new man, have a new heart, and walk in newness of life, are in Christ and Christ in you.
Third Use: Seeing Christ is all, and in all in the new man, let it serve for the consolation of every true believer. Christ is yours and all things are yours, 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. All are yours, and you are Christâ€™s and Christ is Godâ€™s. Christ is your life, your light, your food, your all, and by union with Christ, you are one with God, John 17:21. God is your God and Father, John 20:17. All that is Christâ€™s is yours, His wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, faith, love, humility, &c. All in all fullness was in Him and dwells in Him for His people, to communicate to them, Ephesians 4:7. Are you full of spiritual wants, you may have supply from the fullness of spirituality in Christ. Do you want wisdom, faith, love, &c.? Whatever you want, go to Christ for that grace. There is enough in Christ to satisfy the most hunger thirsting souls in spiritual things, Ephesians 1:3. God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ. In Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Colossians 2:3. Do you want power against corruption? Go to Christ for strength. His grace is sufficient for you, 2 Corinthians 12:8, 9. There is an all-sufficiency in Christ. Christ is all says the text, therefore the apostle having Christ, said, I have all. I can do all through Christ, Philippians 4:13, 18. And know for your further consideration that Christ is in all in the new man, or in every true believer.
He is in you, Colossians 1:2. Christ in you the hope of glory. Christ lives in me says the apostle in Galatians 2:20. Christ is and lives in a true believer by participation of His divine nature, 2 Peter 1:3, 4. By incohation of His Holy Spirit, Galatians 4:6, and by communication of his saving grace, Ephesians 3:17 and 47. Christ is in your hearts, in your gifts, in your graces, in your duties, in all, by Whom you find acceptance of your persons and services with God your heavenly Father, Ephesians 1:6. Christ is with you and in you in all conditions, in all relations, in all afflictions, Isaiah 63:8, 9.
And to conclude this use, know for your increase of joy that Christ, who is all, and in all in you, will abide in you forever. Nothing shall be able to separate Christ and your souls, Romans 8:35-39. Christ is the strength of your heart and your portion forever, Psalm 73:26.
Fourth Use: Seeing Christ is all, and in all in the new man, suffer a word of exhortation which will concern everyone present to hearken to, viz. Both such as are in Christ and out of Christ and I am sure every one of you are in one of these two estates. Either you are in Christ or without Christ. The first branch of the exhortation shall be to you, who are believers and sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints. Seeing Christ is all, in all let Him be all in all in your justification. Take you heed you bring not any righteousness of your own, nor any grace of work of His in you to join with Christ and His righteousness in point of justification, Philippians 3:9. This glory Christ will not give to another. He is our justification, or righteousness, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31. Christ will not permit any coadjutor, concause, or cooperator whatsoever in the justification of sinners.
Consider this you who will not believe, unless you could see yourselves so holy, so humble, except you can first have such a sin subdued you will not believe any of your sins are pardoned. Until you find & feel in yourselves a soft heart, a broken heart, a praying spirit, a mourning spirit, you cry out you are not justified. Oh, say you, if I could pray, mourn for sin, profit by the means, as such and such does, then I would believe. But, alas, I have a hard heart, a blind mind, a perverse will, carnal affections, &c. I cannot, dare not, I will not believe that my sins are forgiven. Thus most professors would bring in if not their own righteousness some grace or work of God in them, to join with Christ in their justification, not considering that God justifies the ungodly, Romans 4:5, and that Christ is all, and in all in the justification of sinners.
Secondly, let Christ be all, in all in the gifts of the Spirit and graces of sanctification. For, as you heard, He is the Author, the Preserver, and the finisher of them all, therefore let him have the pre-eminence above all. Set a high esteem of every gift and grace of God. Account a little grace better than all the riches, honors, pleasures, and creature-comforts of this world. But you ought to prize Christ far above all his own gifts and graces in us. For he is the life of them all, the marrow and substance of them all. What is all knowledge unless you know God in Christ? 1 Corinthians 13:2. Nothing. What is faith except Christ be the object of it? 1 Corinthians 13:2. Nothing. Patience, temperance and all other virtues what are they but either natural qualities, or moral habits unless Christ be the root of them. Nature education, and acquired gifts of art may produce the like, yea, the same in heathens, but Christ is the luster and beauty of each spiritual gift and grace. That influence believers receive from Christ and those rays that come from this Sun of Righteousness upon their graces, makes them shining saints, beautiful and all glorious within. Hear this you poor in spirit, you newborn babes in Christ, who have the persons of believers (especially preachers) in admiration and set them up on high in your hearts, and extol them with your tongues. Because you discern so much humility, love, patience, faith, and other gifts of the Spirit and graces of sanctification in them. Should you not rather admire Christ, exalt Christ and extol Him, who is the Purchaser, the Owner, the Donor, and the Author of all these spiritual gifts & graces. For we have nothing but what we have received. By His grace we are what we are, and all the grace we have from His fullness we received it, John 1:16. Therefore, let Him receive the glory of all, and let Him have the pre-eminence in all, for He is all in all.
Thirdly, let Christ be all, in all your affections, words & actions. Set your affections of Christ. Oh, let the discoveries of that superlative excellence, and glorious beauty of Christ, which are made out to your souls by the Spirit and word of God, draw you to set your affections on Him, Colossians 1:1, 2. Love every one and every thing that God has put the name of Christ upon for His sake, but chiefly set your affectionate love upon Him. Love Christ is His saints. Love Christ in His messengers, in His ordinances, &c. This will quicken your desires to enjoy more of Christ, more of Christ in His saints, ministers, ordinances, and in your own hearts. Oh, let Christ be chiefest in your affections. He is altogether lovely, Canticles 5:16. Let him have your dearest love. He is the well beloved of His Father and yours, 2 Peter 1:17. Let Him be your well beloved. Christ bears you in His arms, everlasting arms of mercy, yea, in His bosom Isaiah 40:11 & 63:9. Do you bear Him in your heart and let Christ be exalted highest there? Again, let the absence of Christ be the chief occasion of your sorrow and mourning, Matthew 9:15. Cry after him. Inquire for Him. Give Him no rest until He return. This was the practice of the spouse, Canticles 3:1-4 & Canticles 5:4-8. Oh, how were her affections set upon her beloved! Tell Him I am sick of love, Canticles 5:8. Though there be many other just occasions for mourning to the saints, yet this is the chief. If a loving wife cannot think of the departure of her dear husband without sorrow, how much more sorrowful will a gracious heart be in the absence of Christ? Mary like who wept and being asked the reason by the angel answered, â€œBecause they have taken away the Lord &c.â€ John 20:11-16. And as Christ should be all in your affections, so let him be in your words and actions. Speak for Him. Do for Him. Suffer for Him. Let Him be the matter of your communications & conferences that you may minister grace to the hearers. Whatever you do in word or deed, let all be done to the honor of Christ for he that honors the Son honors the Father also.
The other branch of the exhortation is to such as are in their natural condition without Christ seeing Christ is all & in all, be exhorted to seek Christ. Paul preaching on Mars Hill to the Athenians tells them God made of one blood all nations of men that they should seek the Lord, Acts 17:22, 26, 27. And there are many exhortations in the Holy Scriptures to this purpose as Isaiah 55:6, 7. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, &c. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts &c. Let him return unto the Lord &c. The apostle Peter in his speech to Simon Magus in Acts 8:20-23, told him his heart was not right in the sight of God, that he was in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. And he exhorted him to repent and pray to God, verse 22. Not that any man in his natural condition can of himself come to Christ, desire Him, or seek to enjoy Him. For none can come to Christ except the Father draw him, John 6:44. It is God that works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure, Philippians 2:13. So then says the apostle it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy. Only know this, God requiring poor sinners to use the means, He has appointed is pleased to make that means effectual for their conversion and salvation. For if God has purposed to show mercy and confer His grace upon your souls, He will cause you to seek unto Him, Ezekiel 36:26, 27, 37. A new heart will I give you & I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes. Thus says the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them, verse 37. Godâ€™s gracious and free promises do not exclude the means he has appointed to attain the mercies therein promised. It pleases Him to tie His creatures to the use of means when He affords it them though He will sometimes work without it. Now the ordinary means which God has in His infinite wisdom appointed to convert sinners, and also to build them up in Christ, is the word preached, Romans 10:8, 17. This word of the gospel God will have preached to every creature in all parts of the world, Mark 16:15. None are exempted or prohibited from hearing the gospel preached, but everyone that has an ear is required to hear, Revelation 2:7. And let such as neglect the hearing of the word of God (preached by such as are called and sent of Christ) consider what the Lord says in Proverbs 1 from the 20th verse to the 32nd. But albeit some of you see it is that which you ought to do and that you had need to do, to wit, to seek the Lord. Assenting to what you heard in the first use of the doctrine that there is much worth, beauty, and excellence in Christ. And that poor lost undone sinners stand in need of Him, notwithstanding how to obtain Christ, you know not as yet. Let me tell you. God offers you Christ upon gospel terms, which are these three.
First, God in the dispensation of the gospel propounds Christ to lost sinners as the only necessary and all-sufficient means of salvation. Christ is the only necessary means of salvation, Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other. And Christ is the all-sufficient means of salvation so that we need none but Him, Hebrews 7:25. He is able to save them to the uttermost, &c.
Secondly, God does offer Christ to lost sinners without respect to price or person. He invites them that have no money to come and but wine and mile (that is to say, Christ) without price, Isaiah 55:1. And anyone that will are invited to take Christ freely, Revelation 22:17. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life (that is, Christ) freely.
Thirdly, God requires that those who do receive Him shall depart from iniquity, 2 Timothy 2:19. Live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Titus 2:11-15. And that they shall sell all, lose all, and hate all for the sake of Christ and take up the cross and follow Him.
You will say to me, alas, here is my misery, to wit, although God propounds Christ upon good terms to poor sinners to me among others, I have no power of myself to receive Christ and to believe in Him and accept of Him. True, it is not (as I said) in him that wills, or him that runs, but in God Who shows mercy, Romans 9:16. It is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe. Which must be put forth in your hearts to make you believe also according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, Ephesians 1:19, 20. And you ought to wait on God in the diligent use of means until the day of His power come upon you and then you shall be a willing, a believing people, Psalm 110:3. I may exhort you to repent of your wickedness, profaneness, &c. as Peter did in Acts 8:22, but God must give you repentance unto life, Acts 11:18. It is my duty to preach the gospel to you and to exhort you to seek Christ, Acts 17:22, 27, but it is the mere mercy and free grace of God to drive you to Christ, which nothing, but His everlasting love can move Him to do, Jeremiah 31:3. You ought to seek and wait, ask, and use all the means which God has appointed and afforded you, both secret, private and public, Revelation 2:29. But God must make the means effectual, Acts 16:14. And therefore, I must say it is not in me. I cannot draw you to Christ. That is the Father’s work, John 6:44. But having exhorted you to seek Him in the use of means, there I must leave you to wait on God for the moving of His Holy Spirit where you must lie and continue like the poor impotent man at the pool of Bethesda for healing. And though as he did, so you may see many a lame, blind, deaf, dumb, naked, leprous soul get healing and go away rejoicing and praising God. And you remain still so impotent that you cannot get into the fountain set open for sin and for uncleanness, nor have any that can help you in that you may be cured. Yet, be not disheartened as Christ came suddenly and unexpectedly and healed the impotent man after long waiting. So Christ will come according to His promise to your souls that seek Him, Malachi 3:1. The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come, says the Lord of Hosts.