And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
~ Deuteronomy 11:13
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
~ Proverbs 4:20
Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
~ Proverbs 8:4, Isaiah 51:1
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
~ Psalm 42:1-2
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
~ Revelation 3:18
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
~ Joel 3:18, Matthew 26:29
For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
~ Isaiah 52:3, Romans 3:24
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
~ John 6:37, Psalm 22:26, John 10:27
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.
~ Genesis 17:7, Jeremiah 33:26
The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, And Or Grace and Glory In and Through Him. Diligently Searched into, Clearly Unfolded, and Comfortably holden forth, in Fourteen Rich Gospel SERMONS Preached on several texts, at Communions, in Glasgow.
By the late pious and Powerful Gospel Preacher in that City, Mr. James Durham.
A Preparation Sermon, for the Communion.
On Isaiah. 55.1, 2, 3. — I will make an Everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
IT is hard to conceive or express, whether the things which the Gospel offereth be the most large, or the terms on which they are offered be the most free. There is that, no doubt, in both together, which may make the beholder stay and wonder. Among many excellent offers of the Gospel, that which is here is one very full and free: would to God we could look on it suitably. But Alace! we may fear, that we shall rather leave these sweet words with a vail cast over the Beauty, Splendour and Lustre of them, then lay them forth and unfold them as we ought, and as they call for; we would therefore look to himself whose words they are, and beseech him to explain and make them out to us.
That this Text speaks of the Gospel, of the times of the Gospel, and of Gospel-mercies, we take for granted and have good reason to do so, as on other accounts, so from Acts 13.34. Which clearly holds out to us that these Promises are not to be understood of Temporal things: the fifth vers. with all telling us, that the offer of this Grace Promised shall be made to the Nations.
We may take up the Words in these Four: or there is here a Gospel-cryed fair or Market set out in Four things: First in the Wares, Wine and Milk, that which Satisfies and is good and fatness vers. 2. Soul, life, and the sure mercies of David, vers. 3. These are the Wares, which do all come to the same amount: if ye would know what that is: ye may consider David two wayes, one is properly and personally, as he is the Son of Jesse and King of Israel: It’s the Covenant which was made with him, a main Article whereof was, that out of his loine there should one spring, who should sit upon his Throne for ever: and thus the sure mercies of David, are Christ and his benefits: The other way that ye would look on David is, as he was a Type of Christ the Anti-type & Principal Covenanter or confederating Party with God: and so in effect it turns to the same thing: only this latter way is more clear: So then we look on David here: as it is not unusuall for the Scriptures to hold him forth, viz. As a Type of Jesus Christ; and indeed the words following do abundantly clear it: for David Personally considered was now long since dead and gone, and was not the witness nor the leader of the people: Therefore it must needs be Jesus Christ that here is meant, mainly and Principally at least: As is very clear Acts 13.34. Christ then being looked on as here understood, The sure mercies of David, are the sure Mercies Covenanted and bargained (to speak so) to Christ before the World was: and it plainly implies, that there was a Covenant or bargain betwixt the Father and the Son about the Elect before the beginning of the World, whereof as to the benefits therein Covenanted to the Mediator, the Gospel maketh an assignation to Believers in time. 2. We have the Chap-man (to say so) or the Merchant to whom the wares are offered: It is he that thirsts, he that wants and would have: and if any serious Poor souls should think, that they are not suitably sensible of their wants: then, saith the Lord, Let him that hath no money come, that is, plain dyvours (as we speak) or bankrupts that have nothing. 3. We have the terms on which all are offered to sale, and they indeed suit wondrously well with the Merchant: Come (saith the Lord) Buy without Money and without price, Hear and your Soul shal live, and I will make an everlasting Covenant with you: There is (to speak so with reverence) not a Purse opened in, nor a penny payed for the Assignation of this bargain: though by Christ’s satisfaction there was a very great, a very costly and dear price payed: when Christ came to buy and make a purchase of all these Mercies for the Elect, the Market was very high and the prices were up: but when Believers come, by the Covenant of Grace to receive them, the Market is come down, and the prices are fallen wonderfully low: that which stood him very dear is to be had by them Gratis very freely, even for nothing: It’s good that Christ was at the Market before us, He hath cheapened the Prices admirably: & lest any should think, that though there be no Merit, yet something must be to Mollifie the seller, and to commend the Merchant to him: It’s said, Let him come without Money and without price, without money or money-worth, he that hath no commending qualification is bid come. 4. We have the Proclamation of this Market, as Grace hath choice wares and sets them out very freely to sale, so it keeps them not close shut up; but brings them forth to publick view: and to every one, Ho Come to the waters, it inviteth all to Come (as it were) to the shore, as if some fleet were come in with rare and rich Commodities, for which men were to pay nothing: the Proclamation is, Come and buy without Money: and because Grace will not easily take a nay say, there is O Ho, an Oyes Prefixed, Ho come and buy: But because there is dulness and slowness on our part. Notwithstanding all this, there is an expostulation added, vers. 2. Wherefore spend ye your money for that which is not Bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? The Assignation of the Bargain and the offer of the wares, are again urged, Come, and I will make an everlasting Covenant with you: And to let us know that this is sure, He subjoines, vers. 4. I have given him for a witness and leader to the people: That all who are sensible of their own inability to come, may be heartened to it in hope of his help to enable them.
We shall only in short, Observe these Two Points of Doctrine From the words. The first whereof is, that, There is a most gracious and mercifull transaction betwixt the Father and the Son for the good and Salvation of poor Souls, even of all the elect, past before the World was. There are sure Mercies bargained to David; for they are first his; This is clear from that part of the words; Even the sure mercies of David. The Second is, that, all those mercies are put to sale in the Gospel to (dyvour) bankrupt sinners upon exceeding easy, low and condescending terms.
The First doctrine is implyed, viz. That the Covenant of Redemption, wherein there were so many given to Christ, whose Price he undertook to pay, is sealed and established, according to that John 6.39. This is the Fathers will, that of all he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. The Second looks to the Administration of this Covenant, By the covenant of grace in the Gospel, according to Vers. 40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day: So that, what is laid on the Son, vers. 39 As the condition of this Covenant, is in the 40 vers. made offer of to Believers by the Gospel.
The First Doctrine hath two branches; The First whereof is, That there was a transaction concerning the Salvation of lost Sinners, betwixt the Father and the Son before the World was? A Covenant made with David, before it is or can be declared and Preached in the Gospel, the terms whereof were resolved on, and all the Articles of it agreed upon; The Father proposing, and the Son accepting the bargain from eternity; as is clear, Psal. 40.6, 7. Where, when it is, as it were, consulted what shall be the Price of Redemption, It is not Sacrifices nor burnt Offerings; but a bodie hast thou Prepared me; Behold! come, in the Volume of thy book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; Which is expresly applyed to Christ, Heb. 10 7. This is easily cleared from the consideration of the parties contracting, and of the ends for which this Covenant was undertaken, and of the effects that follow upon it.
The Second Branch of the Doctrine is, that this as to sinners is a most gracious and mercifull, a most kind, lowing and lovely transaction, exceedingly for the behove and advantage of Sinners. There are Four words in the Text, Which hold out this; 1. The Nature of this Covenant is Mercy, all the Articles of it Savour strong of Mercy to sinners; They are exempted, though Christ came under sore strokes: whether we consider this Covenant as exacting of Christ; or promising to Christ, it is alwayes for sinners behove. 2. It is a Covenant of Mercies, of many various mercies, So, 2 Sam. 23.5. It is said to be an everlasting Covenant ordered in all things and sure; and, 2 Pet. 1.4. It is said, according as his divine Power hath given unto us all things, that pertain to life and Godliness: Mercies of Justification, Pardon of sin, Sanctification in all its graduall advances, of fellowship with God, of grace and Glory, even of every good thing or good things of all sorts. 3. It’s very gracious and mercifull in respect of the excellent kind of these Mercies, they are not common mercies, but mercies of David, bestowed upon his anointed; Christ is furnished and filled with them, That out of his fulness we may receive and grace for grace: even grace in a good measure. 4. They are stable mercies, not fleeting and quickly gone; not a glance of Mercy which evanisheth, the Covenant is everlasting, and the mercies are the sure mercies of David.
If we might Particularly go through all the parts of this Covenant, Mercie will be found sweetly looking out in everie article, clause and Circumstance of it. Look first; more generally to the whole of it; it’s all loving kindnesses and mercies to sinners; Look to Christ’s Sufferings and Death, O! what mercy shines conspicuously there? To his qualifications for the discharge of all his Offices; to his anointing with the spirit without measure; There is great mercie there; to all the Promises made to him, such as these, He shal see his seed; the Pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; by his knowledge shall he Justifie many; He shall have a willing People, Eternally to reign with him, &c. Are not these loud speaking Mercies? The grace and wisdome that is on the Fathers side, and the grace and love that is on the Sons side, are all for the behove and good of sinners; It’s all wonderfully behovefull; is it not great Mercy to you believers, that you were minded in this bargain? The Lord Christ, as God, neither needed nor was capable of any accession of Grace; he took the relation of our Redeemer and Mediator, and as such in the humane nature, was filled with Grace and Bowels of Mercy and Compassion, that Grace and Mercy might look through that relation to us. Secondly, And more particularly, look to the rise of it; It bred in God’s own bosome (to speak so) John 3.16. God so loved the world, that He gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him, might not perish, but have Eternal life; and the Son laid down His life out of pure love; there was no necessity on him to do so, but what he voluntarily came under; there was no Motive from us to it, nor had he any adviser to it. Thirdly, Look to the manner of his undertaking; It was very readily, Chearfully, and with ardent, vehemently ardent love; So that we may say of it as of that Chariot mentioned, Cant. 3.10. It is made of, and Paved with Love, for the Daughters of Jerusalem; The Elect being under the curse, Christ out of meer love undertakes to satisfie Justice for them; Sacrifices will not do it, rivers of Oyle will not do it, The first born of the body will not do it, nor satisfie for the sin of the Soul; What will do it then? Grace suggests, that the Son shall become man, and do it, and the Son saith, Lo I come; O! What love and mercy are here? Fourthly, Look to the Contrivance of it; and there ye will find much Grace and Mercy; that it is made with a Mediator, and with a mediator that is a Surety, that the stock is bestowed on him and put under his Custodie, that the Promises are made to him and the Price exacted from himself. 5ly, Look to the Manner of executing it; what love, Grace and mercy shines forth in the Father, in taking vengeance on his only begotten Son for us? What love in the Son, in yeelding to take it on, and in his leaving his manifestative Glory for a time, that he might undergo the curse, and in his doing all this with delight? Sixthly, Look to the confirmations of this Covenant; the Oath of God on the Fathers side, the death of the Mediator on the Sons side; and he hath freely bequeathed it, as a confirmed Testament and legacy to us Believers, and hath instituted Sacraments to be Seals thereof; O! What mercy upon mercy! Seventhly. Consider the effects of it; it runs in the sweet streams of Grace, into the vast Gulfe and Ocean of Glory; Wonderfull mercy? Eightly, Look to the Parties Confederating and Covenanting; the Father, Son, and Spirit, all are here, And, it’s Grace and mercy that they Covenant, 2. Who are the Contrivers of it? Are not even they in their deep wisdom, and in their exuberant, Superabundant and infinit Grace and mercy? 3. What is the end of it? Even ehe Praise of the Glory of his Grace, Eph. 1.5. Grace bringing forth and manifestly shewing here it’s great master-peece. 4. As infinit wisdom and love contrive, so infinit Power executs it: and when all these concurre in this bargain: when the infinitly wise God, all the Persons of the most Glorious Dreadful and Adorable Trinity (as it were) set themselves to set forth the Glory of free Grace, to make Angels and Saints Behold and Admire in it infinit Wisdom and incomprehensible love, what a rare piece must it needs be? And this is the end of it, as is clear: Ephes. 3 9. That all men might see what is the fellowship of this Mystery: which from the beginning of the World, hath been hid in God, who Created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent, that now unto the Principalities and powers in the Heavenly places, might be known by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God.
The Second Doctrine is, That this good and gracious bargain, that’s past betwixt the Father and the Son, which is wholly mercie, is brought to the Market and exposed to sale, on exceeding easie and condescending termes, and that to bankrupt sinners: What Proclaims the Lord here? even this; I will give you the Sure mercies of David: That which I and my Son have carved out for the glory of Grace, and for a proof of the riches of my bounty, I will make all over to you freely. Hence Ephes. 3.8. It’s called, the unsearchable riches of Christ; So that, whatever Christ hath as Mediator, It is holden forth here; That out of his fulness we may receive Grace for Grace, a Proportion of all the Grace that is in him.
In Prosecuting this point, we shall shew, 1. More Particularly what this bargain is, that is put to the sale. 2. Who the Merchant is. 3. What are the termes on which, and how it is made. 4. What is the manner how the Gospel puts home this bargain, and layes Christ and his fulness forth upon Stands in the Market-place, as it were, (to speak thus with reverence of this Divine Mystery) that there may be free access, to whosoever will come, and buy these rare and rich Wares and Commodities.
As for the First, that ye may know what the Bargain is, and what is in your offer in this day of the Gospel, Take it in these few Particulars; 1. All that ever any Believer in the world had, is put to sale here; if any Believer ever had fair Priviledges, sure it was David; if any ever had a mercifull bargain, he had it; and such is this Covenant; Justification, Adoption, peace with God, Grace and Glory; all these Marrowie, Materiall, massie and essentiall blessings that David had, it was not another Christ, nor another Heaven, nor Another Covenant of Grace that he had, but the same that’s here. 2. Consider it further, and we will find it to be, all that is made over to our Lord Jesus Christ; If he had a good bargain, the spirit without measure, fulness of truth and Grace, great Glory and Honour, being advanced to the right hand of the Father, the same is Believers their bargain proportionably, a due and just proportion being kept betwixt the head and the members, John 1.16. Of his fulness have we all received and Grace for Grace: It’s not another but the same Grace that our Lord Jesus hath; yea it’s not another Glory they are advanced to; no other Table they are set down to; no other Throne they are set on; but the same Glory, Table, and Throne. It’s to Behold his Glory, to Sit at his Table, To sit with him on his Throne: John 17.22.24. Luke 22.30. Rev. 3.21. In a word there are not two Covenants of Redemption betwixt Jehovah and the Mediator, one for himself and another for the elect: but it’s one and the same Covenant for both, though with many vastly different respective considerations and circumstances. 3. Look to the Wares and Commodities (to speak so) that are exposed to sale in the Gospel: they are not only the Promises made to Christ, but Jesus Christ himself is brought forth to the Market, He is the great Promise, and far beyond all the other promises made in, and the Graces given by the Covenant: I have given Him (saith the Lord, Vers. 4.) For a witness and leader to the People: He is the great gift of God, that Gift of Gifts, being the Fathers fellow: Nothing in Heaven or Earth, no Person, man, or Angel can by far, very far, infinitly far, equall him: to whom can you liken or compare him? To us (saith the Prophet Isaiah Chap. 9.) A Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the Government shall be upon his shoulders, and his Name shall be called wonderful Counseller, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace: this is David, most substantial Massie mercy: He is called Wonderful, because there is no Possibility for Creatures adequatly to conceive, or with exact suitableness to express what his Name is, or what is comprehended within his Name. 4. Look on Christ as Mediator, as God-man, Immanuel God with us: There is put to the Market (to speak so with reverence) God himself: for thus the Covenant is expounded and Sum’d, as frequently elsewhere in the Scripture, so particularly, 2 Cor. 6.16. I will be their God: and Revel. 21.17. He that overcometh shal inherit all things, and I will be his God. Now consider all these in a Conjunction: viz. What all believers have: what Christ hath, and Christ himself; what God hath, and God himself: O! what an incomprehensibly rich and rare, great and Glorious bargain is this! and yet all is by the Gospel brought forth, laid before the hearers of it, and made offer of to them, on most easie and wonderfully condescending terms. May we briefly and in a few words sum up what is in it? 1. All things that may make up believers their Peace with God, and remove the quarrel. 2. All things pertaining to, or needful for life and godliness, as it is, 2 Pet. 1.4. 3. All things that belong to the comfort and consolation of Believers, even strong Consolation, as it is called Heb. 6.18. There is no want so great, but there is a supplie for it here, no case so sad, but there is a comfort for it here; there is not any thing that looks like a crack or uncertainty, but there is sufficient security for it here, in this Covenant, (in this most full and wonderfully well ordered Covenant in all things and very sure) to all who are fled to Christ for refuge. 4. There is in it what is needful and requisit to full satisfaction, to the Solace, delight, joy and compleat happiness of the persons that cordially close with it: So that a Soul can crave no more, nor wish for more; It is even all their desire, as David saith of it, 2 Sam. 23.5. It’s Mensura voti, nay ultra mensuram voti; it never entred into mans heart to conceive much less to desire it. It makes the Soul say, as it is Psal. 73.24. Whom have I in Heaven but thee? There is none on earth, whom I desire besides thee: It hath all things in it: as it is, Rev. 21.7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things: For if God and Christ, Grace and mercy be in it, is there any thing a missing? or can there possibly be any thing wanting in it? May I not very confidently ask you; Is it not a good bargain? If the Father Son and Holy Spirit, Grace, Heaven and Glory be a good bargain; this is then most certainly a good bargain, a wonderfully good, matchless, and non-such bargain: and is not this Gospel, whereby all these great things are brought to the market, good news? Take heed then that ye receive not this Grace in vain, that these wares worthy of all possible intertainment and welcome stand not before you unbought: I say again take heed, that ye receive not all this Grace in vain, that these Precious and costly wares go not from the Market unbought up.
Secondly, Who are the Chap-men or Merchants? You would have readily thought that such wares would have required mighty Monarchs, great States-men, learned Philosophers, or holy Kings, Prophets, Apostles and great men; And yet the Proclamation is (for grace cometh ordinarily in the lower way) Ho, every one that thirsts, and he that hath no money: these are the merchants who are meet for this rich Ware: Are there any that want what may make them happy, and would fain have? Are there any that have their peace to make with God, any that have not their interest clear, and made sure? any that are wrestling with a bodie of death, and groaning under it? Any that fain would have sin pardoned and subdued? Any that would have Grace, heaven and Glory, and have nothing to give for all these or any of them, and who have spent many years labour in vain and to no purpose, to come by them? It’s to you, even to you that all these rich Wares and rare commodities are in a speciall manner offered in this cryed Fair of free grace. And to clear this a litle, I suppose, there are none of you but you are some way under one of these Three, though the externall call and offer comes indifferently to you all. Ye are either, 1. Senseless and secure; and to you the Gospel says, How long ye fools will ye love simplicity? And how long will ye sleep, O sluggards? As there is a Challenge and regrate here, So there is a condition all offer made to you, in as far as it is here implyed, that the Offer is made to them. Who have no bread and have been bestowing their labour on that which satisfies not: glutting themselves with the world, or wrapping themselves up in the groundless conceit of their own righteousness; To such it saith, How long will ye spend your labour for that which is not bread: Or, 2. Ye are some way affected with sin, lying under Convictions, stinged, some way burnt up, and consumed with the apprehensions of the wrath and terrours of God; The word which this Offer hath to such is, the very first in the Proclamation, Ho, every one that thirsts, Come: and as we expostulated with the first sort, viz senseless secure unconcerned, proud and con eity standers aloof, so we bid you earnestly come: and if ye shall say, your conviction hath no edge with it, it is not deep enough: We Answer, let him that hath no money come: if ye have quite given over all Hope of your Prayers and other Performances, as to making your peace with God by them, and have in that respect utterly renounced your own righteousness, and so, have no money, no price: though ye be not pinched and pricked at the heart under the sense of sin and deserved wrath, as ye would: yet come, O come. Or, 3. Ye are such as have taken with your sin and lost state, and are in some measure, though but faintly (at least to your own apprehension) stirring towardst Christ, and would fain be at him: up, for to you the offer most kindly sayes; Hear and your souls shal live, eat and be satisfied. The wares are not brought forth and laid before you, that ye should only (to say so) block or cheapen, and ask the price; but also and mainly, that ye should buy, eat and feed on them; The Gospel doth not, as it were, so much offer to make with you a bargain, as it offers you the benefit of a bargain already made, viz. With Christ: and thus these Three take in every person that wants, and is not, it may be, so sensible of it, and every one that wants and would have.
For the Third, viz. The Terms on which the closing of the bargain depends: they are holden forth in Four words in the Text, with Two qualifications: which make up the terms. The first Word is, Come; and that supposeth peoples leaving of their present standing-place and posture, and their moving towards the Market-place, where the rich Ware is exposed to sale. The Second Word is, Buy; which imports a Price put on the Market-Ware, a valuing of it, and a sort of treating to make it ours. The Third Word is, Hearken, incline the ear, to wit, to God, and to his word, to believe and receive it, and your souls shall live. And the Fourth Word is, I will make an everlasting Covenant with you; which implies an engagement by Covenant to the Lord, after hearing and inclining the ear to his word, a striking of hands and closing with the bargain. Add to these the qualifications, viz. Coming, buying, striking hands (as it were) and closing the bargain, and that without offering Money or Price, Money or money-worth, without offering or giving any thing less or more in compensation.
Fourthly, Let us see how the Gospel puts all this to the Market; so that, where it comes, those that are called must either close the bargain, or it will be their own fault. First, it Proclaimes the Fair (as it were) to all round about, that there are such wares to be had, and at such a Price, the rarest and richest wares and Commodities, and at the cheapest rates that ever the world heard tell of. 2. It doth not only Proclaim, but invite and double the invitation to come. 3. It not only invites, but puts the invitation so home, that People must either make the price, (to say so, though it may be soon made, there being in effect no price) and buy, or refuse the Bargain: If they will not be at the Paines to come in to the shop, as it were, It brings forth the wares and lays them down in the Market-place, and (as it were) on Stands in the street: and cryes, Come, buy, come and enter the Covenant freely: and this it doth by a frank offer, by earnest and perswasive inviting, and by the easie Conditions that it proposeth the bargain on: It stands in a manner with armes stretched out, ready to receive all comers very freely, whatever their Poverty, wants and necessities be: It craves no more but that we willingly take what he offers to put in our hand: The righteousness of Faith saith not, who shall ascend to Heaven, or shall descend to the depth? there is nothing now to be suffered, nor to be Purchased by any more suffering: But the word is near thee in thy heart and in thy mouth: It layes the ware at our very door (as it were) So that we have no more to do, but to stoop down and take it up: but heartily to say the word, and it is a bargain.
Now for Application: may we not resume, and say, that there is a good and excellent bargain to be had in the Gospel, and on very good and easie terms? It’s a Market day, and indeed it were a pity that such wares should be brought to the Market, and that few or none should buy: that Christ should (to speak so) open his pack and sell no wares. Therefore let me say a few words to you for perswading you readily and presently to embrace the Offer of this richest Bargain. And in the First Place, we pray you believe this truth: Alace! there is litle or no faith given to it: Souls come straitned, not throughly believing, that God is putting Christ, Grace and Glory, Heaven and Happiness and all to Sale: These are dayes of The Son of man, in a special manner, wherein Christ’s fleet (to speak so with Reverence) is come home, the Shops are now well furnished with Rich Commodities, all his Stands are set out and full of Grace. Secondly, Wonder that God hath condescended to make offer of such a bargain to us: that, that which cost Christ so very dear, is offered so exceeding cheap to us. Thirdly, We exhort and obtest you, that while these choisest wares are set to sale, ye receive not this offer in vain: Are there any Merchants here for such wares? Here is the Market, the wares are good and sufficient, and the terms very easie, and the Price wondrously low, even so low, that it comes to no Money, no Price: can ye Possibly wish a better bargain or more easie terms? Are there any chap men that want Money, any that are Thirsty, then Come; yea be the frame and disposition of your heart what it may be, if you would have it righted, come; there is here that which will make you Rich & Happie here and hereafter: are there none of you that will seriously ask, what the Lord will say, what Christ will take (as it were) for these wares, or what are his terms; with a sincere resolution to take them on these very terms? Will ye not be Prevailed with to make experimental tryal, what it is to have Christ Made of God to you wisdome, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption? Are there none among you all that have sins to be pardoned, wants to be supplied, strong and stirring Corruptions to be subdued and mortified? Is it Possible that so many are come hither for the fashion? Are there none living at distance from God, nor under his curse really or to their own apprehension, that would have the distance and curse removed? Are there no weak Graces to be strengthened? If there be any such merchants that have a mind and heart to the wares: I say to them from the Lord, as his Herauld: Ho every one that Thirsts, and he that hath no money come: This is the scope of the Gospel, and the preparation for Christ, and also for the Communion, that it calleth for from poor Souls, that would fain close the bargain, and set their Seal to it, and would have God’s Seal set to it to morrow by taking the Sacrament. Speak, what say ye? Pose and put your hearts to it to declare, if they be indeed willing and well content to make and hold the bargain on his own terms; if they be so, (as there is all the reason in the world they should;) then I say, ye have a good bargain: I say again speak, pose your hearts, if ye will make and hold the bargain on these terms or not.
There are these things that do singularly commend this bargain. First, the excellencie of it; ye will go through all the Markets in the World, ere ye get such rich Mercies, of so rare a kind, so sure and so cheap; ye would, belike, think much to have so much land, gold or money; but what are those to this bargain? Those will evanish and turn to ashes, when this will endure and abide with you for ever: What are ye doing? Who are like so many Horse-leaches, sucking up, and glutting your selves with the world, or living securely and carelesly, or purching up your own righteousness; is there any of those bargains like this? we appeal to your own consciences, and nothing doubt, but they will one day bear witness against you, that ye heard of such a bargain and had it in your offer, and yet wilfully refused to accept of it. Secondly, Is there any bargain more suitable for you, who have your peace to make with God; for you who have corruption lively in you, then to have a King, Captain and conqueror to bring it down and to trample on it, after he hath as a Priest reconciled you to God? Is there any more suitable bargain for you, who have your own pinches and straits, and your Comforts at a very low ebb, for you who have wants which cannot be numbred, and who cannot of your selves command one stayed spirituall thought? If ye were perfectly righteous and fairly landed in Eternity, ye might possibly think the less of it (though even Glorified Saints put a great value on it, and glorious Angels admire it) but that sinners dwelling on earth in cottages of clay, whose habitation is in the dust, should think litle of it, it’s strange and even stupendious: Is there or can there be a more suitable bargain for you that want money? Is it not exactly calculated for your case and shapen out for you; so as in every thing it may meet with your wants, difficulties and Objections? Thirdly, Are not the terms most reasonable? No great thing is sought for from you; if a Lordship or a Kingdom were offered to a poor man for a Penny, that hath no money at all, it would signifie nothing at all to him; But behold here peace and Pardon, Grace and Glory, even all good things are offered to you freely. Fourthly, Is not your necessity such, that ye cannot be well without it? For tho ye should spend your money, and bestow much labour, and even wear out your very eyes with weeping and your hearts with grief and sorrow, if ye take not this course, all will only have this Moto written thereon, Vanity of vanities, all is but vanity and vexation of spirit: when ye come to feed on it, ye will find it to be but wind: if peace with God, if God and Christ, if grace and Glory be necessary, then this bargain is necessary; but if ye will continue lazie, indifferent, Luk-warme and unconcerned in the matter; ye shall find that ye have sitten in your own light greatly, and suffered the opportunity of the Market to slip, which ye will never possibly recover: And therefore for the Lords sake, let neither legall weeping, carnal fear or sorrow, hypocrisie, self-conceit, nor mistakes of Christ and of free Grace divert you from making this bargain: but seek Grace, come over these and all other obstructions, and while the Market lasts, Come and buy without money and without Price. It is hard to know how long your day shall last: There are many Countriesides and Cities, in the streets whereof these Packs (to say so) of rich wares were opened up, Laid forth and exposed to sale, that now for many years, yea for several ages have not heard of them, nor the Gospel preached: what (at least in Purity and Power) is now in Jerusalem, and in the seven famous Churches of Asia, But the voice of Terrour, and as it were, the Scriching of Owls? and seeing God is not slack, as men count slackness, what know ye, when the Kingdom of God may be taken from you, and given to others? And when he will cry (to speak so) Pack and go? Every day is not a Market day, every Lords day is not a Communion day: many Congregations in Ireland and else where have sadly found this, wherein it hath come to pass, that great scarcity and want are come where there was once great plenty. And to press this a little further, We may in the First Place Ask, whereat it sticks and halts? I tell you, that there either must be a bargain, or it must (and will sometime) be known where the blame lyes: were it but the bare reading of these very words, they bring the invitation and offer to you, and will ye dare to cast at the wares, or the terms on which they are offered? Grace brings a good bargain to you and stoops very low with it. For 1. It will not stand with you on bygones, if now you deal honestly, The sure Mercies of David will cover and blot out those: and if any of you think, that ye have much debt on your head, as who hath not? It will not upbraid you: the iniquity of Jacob shall be sought for, and shall not be found. There shall be, as it were, Scores drawn through them, your accounts shall be all dashed out by free graces Pen: This is a cryed Fair and Proclaimed Market of free grace, from which no honest comer shall be secluded, thrust back or sent away empty; for here an empty purse needs not make a (blate o) bashful Merchant. 2. Grace stands not precisely on fore-preparations (where Souls honestly and sincerely come) as that ye have not been so and so humbled, and have not such and such previous qualifications, as ye would be at; Nay someway it excludes these, as offering to bring money and some price, which would quite spoile the nature of the Market of free grace; nay yet me say further, if it were possible that a soul would come without sense of sin, Grace would embrace it: sense of sin being no condition of the Covenant, but a Physicall (to speak so) qualification of the Covenanter, and grace is free to them that want it: and let it be supposed to be in a person void of Grace and still in unrenewed black nature, it’s there but a splendid sin, as those shadows of Morall vertues in all meerly natural men, are; Grace can, at the instant of coming, creat qualifications: there could readily be no qualifications in Zacheus when he was on the tree: Yet Christ tells him, Salvation this day is come to thy house. 3. Grace stands not on the want of any effect of Faith, where it calls to believing: it will not stand on darkness of interest, nor on want of progress in Sanctification, nor on things being out of order: for where it comes, it puts things in order; It will be no relevant exception for a person that hath not closed with the bargain and hath not embraced Christ, to say, alace! I have no love to God, to the Godly and to his interest: because Grace can say, thou hast not closed with Christ, and so canst not have the effect before the cause: come and close, and these and other effects shall follow. 4. It stands not on degrees of Faith, nor on the strength firmness and height of it; it will take little, even a look, or a glance of the souls eye that sees not clearly, according to that memorable word, Psal. 34.5. They looked to him and were lightened: the more that souls look to Christ, their eye grows the clearer: it will take an honestly willing mind and hearty consent, though the ability be very litle, a receiving or a sincere minting at receiving of the offer: Him that comes, or is really a coming, though he be not yet come, at least, as he thinks, but is, with the Prodigal, still (as he apprehends) afar off, Will Christ and Grace in no case cast-out: for no sooner doth spiritual life stir in Faiths weakest acting and moving towards Christ, but Grace meets it. 5. It stands on no concomitants, though there should be many Idols and lusts raging in the person, if there be a reall consenting by Faith to the bargain, with a sincere resolution to abandon all these, grace will not send him away empty: or if the man say, Lord I believe help my unbelief, that is a done bargain: nay, were it to come with many spiritual issues and sores running, and with fear to presume, and as it were, to steal a hint of Christ; not to speak a word to him, but to touch him: He will not be angry nor upbraid, but will say, go in peace, thy Faith hath made the whole. We may Ask yet, further to the recommendation of Grace. 1. Was there ever a Merchant that came to the market with that purpose, to buy on its own terms, that went away empty and without wares? If all the Congregation of the first born were put to it, they would be ready to bear witness, that Grace never stood with them on any qualification in them, when they came honestly. 2. I Would Ask, was there ever any that adventured honestly on it, whom it mis-gave? That hazarded (to speak so) and yet fell by the way, or that ever repented themselves that they hazarded and entrusted their Souls to this bargain? 3. Let me Ask, was there ever any that took hold on and griped it, in whose hand is brake? The bargain and Covenant is everlasting? the mercies are sure mercies, once sure and alwayes sure, once rich and for ever so; It was and is a Covenant well ordered in all things and sure: blessed for ever be the contriver and suretie thereof. Some may possibly think, that this doctrine looks to be somewhat laxe (or lose): But sure Grace is not laxe; for as we may say of God’s power; Is any thing to hard for him? So we may say of his Grace, Is any thing too free for it Only abuse not Grace, Prostitute it not, turn not your back on it, neither turn it into wantonness; It ye look on grace, and cheapen only and do not buy; or if ye bid for one piece of it only, and not for all; Wo unto you, that ever is was offered unto you: what would ye be at? Is it Holiness, Heaven and happiness, and that freely? They are here; Is it Christ and Christ freely and all that is his? He is here in your offer; what means then this whining (to speak so) and standing so much on terms, as if the way of grace were a hard untoward unpassable way… Nay, it’s a good soft, sweet, easie way, and plain to them that walk in it, and God the best Master that ever Rich or Poor served, and the easiest to serve and the best to please, where there is sincerity and willingness to live honestly; he pities and spares all up right hearted servants, As a Father pitieth his Children and a man spareth his son that serveth him: And if any think they find it otherwise, it’s most certainly their own fault. Therefore, I beseech you, study First, To be is case to take Graces wares home with you, Repentance Faith, Hope, Love, Mortification, Meekness, Patience, &c. These things are in the Covenant betwixt Christ and you and set to Sale in the Market. 2. Be making ready, for the Market is ready: many shops, (as it were) are opened and much precious ware laid out: bring empty vessels and not a few, that ye may carry them away full, that ye may take a Rich loading home with you: though you take up never so much of this ware, it will never be missed nor grow the less; and indeed it is a part and a considerable part of our preparation for the Communion, to be rooted in the Faith of these great things and to get our affections stretched, dilated and widened to receive them: To get the everlasting doores cast up, that the King of Glory may come in, That when he calls for entrie, the doors may be opened at the very first knock. 3. If so be your desires be stirred up, and your appetites quickened in any measure: there is nothing that will more effectually and powerfully stir them up, provoke and sharpen them, then grace believingly looked to, and improved: longing to see his Power and Glory, as they have been seen by his people in the Sanctuary, would notably make way for him: pleading and working with your own hearts alone, will not do the business, but grace imployed and made use of will do it effectually and to purpose: and the more Grace you draw forth out of Christ’s fulness and drink, so much the better: It will be (to speak so) no forestalling of the market: neither will the sweet savour of the perfume be the weaker or less to morrow, that ye break the Box of this Precious oyntment to night. Now God himself who proclaimes the Fare: sets the Market: and exposeth the Rich ware to sale, give you wisdom to Prove wise merchants to your Eternal advantage and up making.