Gospel Minister

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
~ Psalm 45:7

The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
~ Isaiah 50:4

Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
~ Psalm 2:6

And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.
~ Zechariah 11:11

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
~ Isaiah 57:15

To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
~ Psalm 102:20

And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.
~ Isaiah 32:3

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
~ Isaiah 42:3

The Duty Of A Gospel Minister, by George Whitefield. The following contains an excerpt from his work.

`The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Luke 4.18,19.

Though you are all here, I hope, sitting seriously in the presence of God, with desire to hear His Word to your profit, yet I cannot but think it will engage your attention still the more if I inform you that the words now read seem to be one of the first texts on which our Lord Jesus Christ Himself preached, when He came to publish the glad tidings of salvation to a benighted world. The occasion of our Lord’s preaching upon these words, we find at the 16th verse of this chapter: `And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias; and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.’

The words, then, plainly contain a prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ. He it is who was here spoken of by the prophet Isaiah; He it is who was anointed and qualified by the Holy Ghost, having received the Spirit of God without measure, in order to enable Him to perform the mediatorial office betwixt God and man. But the words may be plainly referred to gospel ministers as well as to Jesus Christ, and the very words of the text plainly give ministers a direction how they are to preach the gospel. And, therefore, from the words,

I shall first endeavour to prove that every minister, before he pretends to have orders to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, from a full evidence of a work of conversion passing upon his soul, ought to be enabled in some degree to say, `The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he hath anointed me to preach the gospel.’

Secondly, I shall show you what that gospel is, which ministers thus qualified are to preach.

Thirdly, I shall show you the persons whom this gospel is to be preached unto, namely, `The poor, the broken-hearted, the captives, the blind, the bruised.’

Lastly, I shall make application of the whole, hoping that while I am preaching, the people of God will lift up their hearts to Jesus Christ; and who knows but we may have an acceptable morning of the Lord’?

1. I would endeavour to show you that every minister, before he undertakes to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, from a full evidence of a work of conversion, ought to be enabled to say, `The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel.’ – It is certain there is now a great degeneracy through all the Christian world, and though there may be many reasons assigned for ‘ that deadness; that lukewarmness, both in their principle, discipline, and practice, yet I am verily persuaded one great reason is this, That many pretend to preach the Lord Jesus Christ that are strangers to the power of Jesus Christ upon their own hearts. There are many who do run before they are called of God, and therefore it is no wonder they do not profit the people at all. A dead clergy will make a dead people. It is absolutely necessary, before a minister undertakes to preach the gospel, that he should have an experimental acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ. A man when he comes out to preach, should preach so feelingly that all who hear him might take notice of him, as the Scribes and Pharisees did, that he has been with Jesus. It is a shocking question which Jesus Christ put to Nicodemus – says he, `Art thou a master in Israel?’ – Dost thou pretend to be a teacher of others, a guide to those that are blind, to instruct others in the nature of true religion – `and knowest not these things,’ art not acquainted with the new birth thyself’?

If Christ were to come to preach the gospel, how many ministers must He be obliged to put this question to! When there were only deacons to be chosen, the apostles said, `Look ye out among you men of faith, and full of the Holy Ghost.’ And if it was necessary for the office of a deacon that he was to be thus qualified, who was only to take care of the poor’s box, how much more necessary is it that those should be full of faith and of the Holy Ghost who are to deal out bread to the spiritually hungry, starving soul? When there was only a material tabernacle to be built, the Spirit of God came upon two special men to qualify them for that; and if the Spirit of God was necessary to qualify them, how much more is the Spirit of God absolutely necessary to enable men to build up the living temple of the Holy Ghost!

Besides, my dear friends, it is not the business of the ministers of the gospel merely to entertain people with harangues of dry morality, and leave out Jesus Christ. It is not our business to entertain our people, as Cicero, Seneca, and other heathen moralists did; but we are to preach Christ, not ourselves; we are to preach the hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God. Now, if a man is a natural man, he can have no notion of the hidden things of Christ’s kingdom. `The natural man discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are spiritually discerned.’ And how can a man that does not know them, preach them’? It is true a man may study a scheme of divinity, and in order to get into a place, to please a patron or some great man, he may get Calvin’s scheme, or any other scheme of religion. What is all this, if it doth not come from the heart? The poor people cannot expect to be profited at all. It is poor preaching to preach an unknown Christ; for my own part, I would not preach an unknown Christ for ten thousand worlds. Such offer God strange fire, and their sermons will but increase their own damnation. It is absolutely necessary, therefore, for all ministers before they undertake to preach the gospel to others, that they are taught of God.

Human learning is an admirable thing, when made use of in divinity. The apostle Paul was a learned man. Every man that reads his writings, must own he was accurate in his style, and a great orator; yet what was all this unless the Spirit of God was in his heart’? Great accomplishments in an unsanctified heart only make a man a more accomplished devil; and the more a clergyman knows, if he is not sanctified, he will only be the more fit for propagating the devil’s kingdom. It is indeed impossible, in the very nature of things, that a man should preach Christ that doth not know Him. I have often thought the minister that does not know Christ, and preaches Him for a maintenance, has the greatest drudgery in the world. He is always preaching the thing he doth not love in his heart – and what a drudgery must it be for a man to do so!

It is therefore necessary for all ministers, before they undertake to preach the gospel, to examine themselves, and see whether they have got the Spirit of the Lord in their hearts. It is not the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, and having a call of a particular people, that makes a man a minister. These outward calls are certainly good, and I would have every man called as was Aaron; but if you are not called of God as well as of the people, you are no minister in the eye of Jesus Christ, you are carrying your own condemnation with you m every sermon you preach; you will never preach with power feelingly, while you deal in a false commerce with truths unfelt. Every word a minister preaches should be engraven on his heart. It is, therefore, remarkable (though indeed our clergy as well as the clergy of other kingdoms have sadly fallen from their constitution), that in the church of England, the first question the bishop puts to him is, `Are you inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost?’ By which they own that an inward call of the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary for a gospel minister. Many ordained do not mind that question, or rather they lie, not unto men, but unto God. But it is the opinion of the reformed churches, that the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary before a man can take on him the office of a minister.

And though I would, with all humility, own myself the chief of sinners, yet if there are any persons here in the ministry, I would exhort you, in the name and by the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, to examine your hearts, and see whether you are in Jesus Christ or not, and see whether you feel these truths you are preaching to your congregations or not. It will be but poor, dry, sapless stuff – your people will go away out of the church as cold as they came in – except your ministry be

1. I would endeavour to show you that every minister, before he undertakes to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, from a full evidence of a work of conversion, ought to be enabled to say, `The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel.’ – It is certain there is now a great degeneracy through all the Christian world, and though there may be many reasons assigned for ‘ that deadness; that lukewarmness, both in their principle, discipline, and practice, yet I am verily persuaded one great reason is this, That many pretend to preach the Lord Jesus Christ that are strangers to the power of Jesus Christ upon their own hearts. There are many who do run before they are called of God, and therefore it is no wonder they do not profit the people at all. A dead clergy will make a dead people. It is absolutely necessary, before a minister undertakes to preach the gospel, that he should have an experimental acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ. A man when he comes out to preach, should preach so feelingly that all who hear him might take notice of him, as the Scribes and Pharisees did, that he has been with Jesus. It is a shocking question which Jesus Christ put to Nicodemus – says he, `Art thou a master in Israel?’ – Dost thou pretend to be a teacher of others, a guide to those that are blind, to instruct others in the nature of true religion – `and knowest not these things,’ art not acquainted with the new birth thyself’?

If Christ were to come to preach the gospel, how many ministers must He be obliged to put this question to! When there were only deacons to be chosen, the apostles said, `Look ye out among you men of faith, and full of the Holy Ghost.’ And if it was necessary for the office of a deacon that he was to be thus qualified, who was only to take care of the poor’s box, how much more necessary is it that those should be full of faith and of the Holy Ghost who are to deal out bread to the spiritually hungry, starving soul? When there was only a material tabernacle to be built, the Spirit of God came upon two special men to qualify them for that; and if the Spirit of God was necessary to qualify them, how much more is the Spirit of God absolutely necessary to enable men to build up the living temple of the Holy Ghost!

Besides, my dear friends, it is not the business of the ministers of the gospel merely to entertain people with harangues of dry morality, and leave out Jesus Christ. It is not our business to entertain our people, as Cicero, Seneca, and other heathen moralists did; but we are to preach Christ, not ourselves; we are to preach the hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God. Now, if a man is a natural man, he can have no notion of the hidden things of Christ’s kingdom. `The natural man discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are spiritually discerned.’ And how can a man that does not know them, preach them’? It is true a man may study a scheme of divinity, and in order to get into a place, to please a patron or some great man, he may get Calvin’s scheme, or any other scheme of religion. What is all this, if it doth not come from the heart? The poor people cannot expect to be profited at all. It is poor preaching to preach an unknown Christ; for my own part, I would not preach an unknown Christ for ten thousand worlds. Such offer God strange fire, and their sermons will but increase their own damnation. It is absolutely necessary, therefore, for all ministers before they undertake to preach the gospel to others, that they are taught of God.

Human learning is an admirable thing, when made use of in divinity. The apostle Paul was a learned man. Every man that reads his writings, must own he was accurate in his style, and a great orator; yet what was all this unless the Spirit of God was in his heart’? Great accomplishments in an unsanctified heart only make a man a more accomplished devil; and the more a clergyman knows, if he is not sanctified, he will only be the more fit for propagating the devil’s kingdom. It is indeed impossible, in the very nature of things, that a man should preach Christ that doth not know Him. I have often thought the minister that does not know Christ, and preaches Him for a maintenance, has the greatest drudgery in the world. He is always preaching the thing he doth not love in his heart – and what a drudgery must it be for a man to do so!

It is therefore necessary for all ministers, before they undertake to preach the gospel, to examine themselves, and see whether they have got the Spirit of the Lord in their hearts. It is not the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, and having a call of a particular people, that makes a man a minister. These outward calls are certainly good, and I would have every man called as was Aaron; but if you are not called of God as well as of the people, you are no minister in the eye of Jesus Christ, you are carrying your own condemnation with you m every sermon you preach; you will never preach with power feelingly, while you deal in a false commerce with truths unfelt. Every word a minister preaches should be engraven on his heart. It is, therefore, remarkable (though indeed our clergy as well as the clergy of other kingdoms have sadly fallen from their constitution), that in the church of England, the first question the bishop puts to him is, `Are you inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost?’ By which they own that an inward call of the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary for a gospel minister. Many ordained do not mind that question, or rather they lie, not unto men, but unto God. But it is the opinion of the reformed churches, that the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary before a man can take on him the office of a minister.

And though I would, with all humility, own myself the chief of sinners, yet if there are any persons here in the ministry, I would exhort you, in the name and by the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, to examine your hearts, and see whether you are in Jesus Christ or not, and see whether you feel these truths you are preaching to your congregations or not. It will be but poor, dry, sapless stuff – your people will go away out of the church as cold as they came in – except your ministry be
to you all. `Whosoever thirsteth, let him come to the water of life, and drink freely.’

I take the gospel here, more particularly, as signifying the comforts of the gospel; and, therefore, though we are to preach Christ Jesus to all freely, to all indefinitely, yet people will never accept of Him, and we can give them no comfort, until that we find they are made sick of sin, and made willing to embrace an offered Jesus.

3. The persons, therefore, we are to preach this gospel to, are described in the latter part of the text: `He hath appointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.’ Who are we to understand by the poor? We are not merely to understand those who are poor as to outward circumstances, though indeed they are the poor that generally receive the gospel. There are a great many of you perhaps who wish to be great, whereas you should be thankful to God that you are poor. Christ hath pronounced a woe against the rich, and hath told us, `Not many mighty are called;’ but it is the poor who receive the gospel gladly. The poor Christ hath chosen, to make them rich in faith. There are many poor people, clothed in rags, who are as proud as the devil himself.

But by the poor, you are to understand the poor in spirit; those who feel their poverty, who bewail their misery; those who feel they are lost and undone on account of their original and actual sin, and on the account of the deficiency of their own righteousness. They find they must accept of salvation, or be damned of God for evermore; they find they have nothing to buy salvation with – they must be entirely beholden to God for it. Are there any such here’? And perhaps we have all more knowledge than practice. Are you poor now? Do you feel convictions fastening on you? And are you really poor sinners? Can you say from your heart, God be merciful to me, a poor sinner? Many of you may say you are sinners; but if another say so, you will not believe him.

But do you feel yourselves lost, undone, poor, miserable, blind, and naked, without Jesus Christ? Do you say so? Then I hope the Spirit of the Lord will enable me this morning to preach the comforts of the gospel to your souls. You poor souls, God hath chosen you to make you rich in faith; to you I bring the gospel, the glad tidings of great joy. For you Christ was born; for you the Son of God was given; for you the Lord Jesus Christ became poor, that He might make you rich – to purchase a crown of glory for you. The Lord Jesus, having shed His own precious heart’s blood, hath said, `Blessed are ye, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.’

You may be as poor as Lazarus, and not have a bit to put into your mouth; you may be glad to be fed with the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table; but fear not, you are rich – you shall be heirs with God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. If you are willing to accept of Him, behold, the Lord Jesus Christ is willing to accept of you. Though you are poor,

the Lord Jesus Christ will not disdain you; the Lord Jesus Christ will take care of you; the Lord Jesus Christ will make you heirs of God; you shall be joint heirs with Jesus Christ; you shall have crowns on your heads, and sit on God’s right hand in, the kingdom of God. This is the gospel – this is glad tidings to you who are poor.

The next persons are the broken-hearted: `He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted.’ By nature we are whole-hearted; and while we are whole, while we are righteous, we need not the Physician; while we do not feel the want of Christ, Jesus Christ and His gospel are not precious to us. Our hearts, by nature, are harder than the nether millstone: they are so hard, that none but God can break them. We reckon it a great misfortune, if we say that such a person has broken his heart – for that sorrow of the world which worketh death is a pitiful case indeed; but do not be angry at me, when I pray God to break every one of your hearts. But what shall it be broken with? With the sight of a wounded Saviour? – of a bleeding, panting, dying Redeemer? The heart broken is the result of looking to Him – of the soul’s looking to Him whom it has pierced, and mourning as a woman mourneth for her first-born. Are there any poor broken-hearted creatures in this congregation? And, indeed, how can you look up to Christ hanging on an accursed tree, and yet not have your hearts broken? The rocks rent, the graves opened, when Jesus Christ was giving up the ghost; nay, the sun itself withdrew its light, as ashamed and blushing, as it were, to see the God of nature suffer. And shall we see Christ crucified before us, and yet our hearts remain hard and unbroken still? For such as are unbroken, and not changed, I cannot give them comfort; but if there are any broken-hearted creatures here, there is healing in Christ for them. He hath sent me to heal brokenhearted sinners – first to break them, to wound them, and then to heal them. I know very well, when your hearts are broken with a sense of sin, the devil will strike in with terror, and tell you you are past recovery; the devil will bid you despair of mercy, and not trust in Jesus Christ. But what says the text? `He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted.’ Though this is impossible with men, yet it is possible with God.

Jesus Christ feels every sigh, every pang of your poor soul; Jesus feels the load with you, and He will take the load off from you. Jesus Christ has got a sovereign remedy to heal you. What is that? It is His precious blood – it is a soul-saving remedy. Here is a healing remedy; and, therefore, if your hearts are broken with a sense of sin, come away to the blood of Christ. There is the remedy the poor creature shall have for the accepting of it..No one came to Jesus Christ, and went away uncured. And when the Lord undertakes to cure you, He will do it to purpose. Come to Jesus Christ – look at Him – do not look to yourselves too much; look out of yourselves, and look up to Christ. The more you look to yourselves, the more you will fall into unbelief; but look out of yourselves to Christ by a direct act of faith, and one look of faith will heal your hearts. You will feel the power of Christ’s blood – it is omnipotent! it is almighty! it can cure all broken hearts! Come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will heal you: He can but speak the word, and it is done; and the more you come, the more welcome you are to Jesus Christ.

Well, the next is the captive: `he hath sent me to preach deliverance to the captives.’ By captives we may here first understand all mankind. We are all captives by nature – led captive by the devil, by the world, by our own corrupt hearts; we are led captive by the devil at his will; by nature we tempt the devil to tempt us; we love the broad way; we hate God and His laws, and bid God depart from us; we are willing drudges to the devil. We are captives in general; but more particularly those who, though they are in captivity, yet feel the misery of captivity. Those who are desirous to get rid of captivity, these we are in a special manner to preach deliverance unto. It is just like a proclamation from the king to the captives in Babylon: they who were fond of their captivity, stayed in Babylon; but they who were weary of it, they had leave given them to go back to Jerusalem. We issue out a proclamation from the King of kings, to all poor captive souls now taken captive by the devil.

Is there any of you weary of your burden’? – or do you hug your chains, and look on ministers as troublers of Israel? – or do you say, O that my heart were set at liberty! O that I were delivered from the guilt and power of sin! O that my heart lusts were mortified! O that old things were passed away, and all things were become new in my soul! Is this the language of your heart? Then, behold, I preach to you deliverance by the blood, by the power, and by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has led captivity captive; Jesus Christ has the keys of death and hell in His hand. Jesus Christ can open the prison doors; and though you are prisoners, yet you are prisoner’s of hope. But yet you may say, I have been such a sinner against God, that there is no ransom can be paid for my sin -I deserve to be kept captive, and damned for ever; and I despair of having a sufficient ransom paid for me. But I say, The blood of Christ is the ransom. Christ has bought thy deliverance with a great price – the inestimable price of His blood; Jesus Christ hath purchased it by His precious blood, and God the Father is as willing to release you, as God the Son is to have you released. The great question is, Whether you are willing to come out of your Sodom, to the new Jerusalem’? Are you so?

Behold, then, your Jesus, the finisher of your salvation, that triumphed over His enemies on the cross, is willing to deliver you. Fear not deliverance! When Jesus is your deliverer, He will deliver you from the guilt and from the power of sin; He will make you new creatures; you shall have love, and peace, and joy, and sweetness, and meekness, in your hearts; and being delivered from death and hell, you shall be invested with eternal glory. This is the deliverance we preach, to all who are led captive – who are weary of their captivity. Behold, we preach deliverance to you from captivity this morning; may the Lord give you a heart to accept of it!

Again, we are to preach recovering of sight to the blind. We are all by nature blind; and this is our great misfortune, we do not know it – we think we see. There are some men think they are mighty seeing men, but they do not see; they say they see, and yet they do not see original sin – they do not see the corruption of their hearts. These poor creatures are blind: we are blind by nature; we know not the way, by nature, of being reconciled to God, more than a man born blind knows how to describe the sun. But the blind here mentioned are those who, like Bartimeus, are sensible of their blindness, and desire to see the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are a great many of you here; but who of you is a blind beggar, and cries out: `Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me’?’ If God were to ask you what you want, can any of you say, with blind Bartimeus, `Lord, I want to receive my sight?’ Do you want to receive Christ? If you know Him, you will long to see Him again; He is the fairest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. Are any of you really willing to see Christ? Are you like the Greeks that came up to worship at Jerusalem, that came to Andrew, saying: `Sir, we would see Jesus?’ Then Jesus you shall see. But you say, I am blind. I know you are. There are scales on the eyes of your mind, and a veil on your heart, which intercepts your sight of Christ. But what says Christ to the church of Laodicea? `I counsel thee to come to me and buy eye-salve, to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see!’ We are blind; though we did see when we came first out of the hand of our Maker, yet now we are blind.

But yet, blessed be God, there is recovering of sight to such blind souls as we are. How are we to recover our sight? It is by our Lord Jesus Christ; it is Jesus who opened the eyes of the man that was born blind; the same Jesus who touched this man’s eyes, must touch your eyes, and must cause the scales to fall from your eyes, as they fell from Paul’s, otherwise you shall be damned for ever. You shall see Christ, indeed, whether you be born again of God or not; but if you are not born again of Christ, you shall see Him only to damn you – you shall see Him once, that it may be your judgment to see what you have lost. But never, never, shall you see Him any more. Blind soul, look up to Jesus Christ. Now some of you may be drooping, and think you shall never see Christ, because you have been in the dark for some time; but do not despair, Jesus Christ has recovered the sight of thousands of millions; why may not each of you say, Lord, why wilt Thou not give sight to me also? Can you not put in a word’? If you can mix faith with the promise, and look up to Jesus Christ, you shall see. What shall you see? You shall see wonders; you shall see Christ, and you shall be so ravished with His beauty, that you shall be scarcely able to contain yourself. You shall see fulness and righteousness in the Son of God – something in Christ that will satisfy all your wants; you shall see your interest in Him; you shall see that you shall be with Him for evermore; you shall see Him here by faith, and see Him as He is in heaven; you shall see wondrous things. May God recover the sight of all you poor blind sinners!

Once more, Christ says, `The Lord hath sent me to set at liberty them that are bruised.’ We are described as poor, broken, blind, bruised creatures. What a poor helpless creature is man in his natural state! We are all bruised even unto death, and if you want to know how we come to be thus bruised: by falling out with God, the devil bruised our heel most wretchedly. But, blessed be God, we shall yet bruise his cursed head. Our whole head is sick, our whole heart is faint; from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, we are full of wounds, bruises, and putrefying sores. In our flesh there dwelleth no good thing. We are like the poor creature that fell among the thieves – quite destitute and forlorn; and there shall for ever lie, unless Jesus Christ come to set us at liberty. Are any here feeling their bruises? What signifies your hearing without feeling’? Are any here made sensible of their dreadful fall from God? Then do not despair, your case is not desperate, the Lord Jesus Christ will set your hearts at liberty. `He hath sent me to set at liberty them that are bruised.’ Christ will open the prison door, and let your bruised souls come forth. God the Father sent Christ, and Jesus Christ never came to do the thing He will not perform; therefore He will take care of poor, bruised souls. Christ shall pour in the wine of His consolation into your souls; Christ will do more for you than what the Samaritan did for the wounded traveller. You are so bruised that you cannot walk and come to God; but take comfort, Christ has borne thy sins in His own body on the tree. The Samaritan carried that man on his own beast; but Jesus Christ has carried thy sins in His own body. You want to be taken care of: Jesus Christ will take care of you; He will put you into the inn of the visible church, He will give His ministers charge to nurse you up, until He come and call you to judgment. You cannot tell how tenderly and lovingly He will deal with you. He has wounded you, but indeed He will heal you thoroughly, and present you at last blameless and spotless before His Father, saying, `Behold me, O Father, and these children thou hast given me.’ Thus shall it be done to all you who are bruised, and are willing to be set at liberty by Jesus Christ. Here, then, I preach the gospel to all such poor creatures that feel the want of a Redeemer, that are blind, poor, broken-hearted, bruised; this will be acceptable doctrine to your souls.

4. But what shall I say to you (and perhaps the greatest part of this congregation consists of such), who, instead of being poor, are rich. You do not want Jesus Christ; you will be saved by your own morality. What shall I say to you who, instead of being broken-hearted, your hearts are hard as the nether millstone? They are so hard and impenetrable, that they cannot be moved at the thoughts of a crucified Jesus. Instead of being blind, you think you see; you see no want of Christ, no want of the divinity of Christ, no want of free justification through the imputed righteousness of Christ – what shall I say to you? You love the ways of the devil, hate God in your hearts, and are every day tempting the devil to tempt you – what shall I say to you? You think you are mighty fine creatures, and hate those ministers that describe man in such a black colour. Shall I preach the gospel to you? Thus far I will preach it; you are welcome to Christ if you will accept it; but if you continue in this condition, I will preach hell to you. Ye poor miserable creatures, what a damnable condition are your souls in! Ye poor blind souls, ye poor whole-hearted creatures, you think you lack nothing, but, alas! you know not that you are poor, miserable, blind, and naked. What shall I say to you? For Jesus Christ’s sake, consider the danger you are in; the next step you may go to hell – you may go to the devil directly. You may scoff at Christ and despise the offer of a blessed Redeemer – the preaching of the gospel may to your hardened hearts be foolishness, and you may bid God depart from you, as you desire not the knowledge of His way; and because all things continue as they were, you may mock and say, `Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.’ But remember, Jesus Christ will avenge Himself of His adversaries by-andby. God may bear with you long, but God will not forbear with you always. Now the time is coming when God will vindicate His injured honour, when God shall lay hold on His glittering sword, when God shall sheathe His sword in your heart’s blood; and if you will not come to Jesus Christ now, Christ shall say, `Depart from me, ye cursed,’ when He comes to judgment. Hear, then; I preach the law to you, to you that will not come to Christ;…

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