rss

CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 20

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 20

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 20

Christ Would Have Comers Not Once Think That He Will Cast Them Out

OBSERVATION THIRD.—I come now to the next observation, and shall speak a little to that; to wit, That Jesus Christ would not have them, that in truth are coming to him, once think that he will cast them out.

The text is full of this: for he saith, “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Now, if he saith, I will not, he would not have us think he will.  This is yet further manifest by these considerations.

First, Christ Jesus did forbid even them that as yet were not coming to him, once to think him such an one.  “Do not think,” said he, “that I will accuse you to the Father” (John 5:45).

These, as I said, were such, that as yet were not coming to him.  For he saith of them a little before, “And ye will not come to me;” for the respect they had to the honour of men kept them back.  Yet, I say, Jesus Christ gives them to understand, that though he might justly reject them, yet he would not, but bids them not once to think that he would accuse them to the Father.  Now, not to accuse, with Christ, is to plead for:  for Christ in these things stands not neuter between the Father and sinners.  So then, if Jesus Christ would not have them think, that yet will not come to him, that he will accuse them; then he would not that they should think so, that in truth are coming to him.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Second, When the woman taken in adultery, even in the very act, was brought before Jesus Christ, he so carried it both by words and actions, that he evidently enough made it manifest, that condemning and casting out were such things, for the doing of which he came not into the world.  Wherefore, when they had set her before him, and had laid to her charge her heinous fact, he stooped down, and with his finger wrote upon the ground, as though he heard them not.  Now what did he do by this his carriage, but testify plainly that he was not for receiving accusations against poor sinners, whoever accused by?  And observe, though they continue asking, thinking at last to force him to condemn her; yet then he so answered, so that he drove all condemning persons from her.  And then he adds, for her encouragement to come to him; “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more” (John 8:1–11).

Not but that he indeed abhorred the fact, but he would not condemn the woman for the sin, because that was not his office.  He was not sent “into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).  Now if Christ, though urged to it, would not condemn the guilty woman, though she was far at present from coming to him, he would not that they should once think that he will cast them out, that in truth are coming to him.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Third, Christ plainly bids the turning sinner come; and forbids him to entertain any such thought as that he will cast him out.  “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa 4:6).  The Lord, by bidding the unrighteous forsake his thoughts, doth in special forbid, as I have said, viz., those thoughts that hinder the coming man in his progress to Jesus Christ, his unbelieving thoughts.

Therefore he bids him not only forsake his ways, but his thoughts.  “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.”  It is not enough to forsake one if thou wilt come to Jesus Christ; because the other will keep thee from him.  Suppose a man forsakes his wicked ways, his debauched and filthy life; yet if these thoughts, that Jesus Christ will not receive him, be entertained and nourished in his heart; these thoughts will keep him from coming to Jesus Christ.

Sinner, coming sinner, art thou for coming to Jesus Christ?  Yes, says the sinner.  Forsake thy wicked ways then.  So I do, says the sinner.

Why comest thou then so slowly?  Because I am hindered.  What hinders?  Has God forbidden thee?  No.  Art thou not willing to come faster?  Yes, yet I cannot.  Well, prithee be plain with me, and tell me the reason and ground of thy discouragement.  Why, says the sinner, though God forbids me not, and though I am willing to come faster, yet there naturally ariseth this, and that, and the other thought in my heart, that hinders my speed to Jesus Christ.  Sometimes I think I am not chosen; sometimes I think I am not called; sometimes I think I am come too late; and sometimes I think I know not what it is to come.  Also one while I think I have no grace; and then again, that I cannot pray; and then again, I think that I am a very hypocrite.  And these things keep me from coming to Jesus Christ.

Look ye now, did not I tell you so?  There are thoughts yet remaining in the heart, even of those who have forsaken their wicked ways; and with those thoughts they are more plagued than with anything else; because they hinder their coming to Jesus Christ; for the sin of unbelief, which is the original of all these thoughts, is that which besets a coming sinner more easily, than doth his ways (Heb 12:1–4).  But now, since Jesus Christ commands thee to forsake these thoughts, forsake them, coming sinner; and if thou forsake them not, thou transgressest the commands of Christ, and abidest thine own tormentor, and keepest thyself from establishment in grace.  “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established” (Isa 7:9).  Thus you see how Jesus Christ setteth himself against such thoughts, that any way discourage the coming sinner; and thereby truly vindicates the doctrine we have in hand; to wit, that Jesus Christ would not have them, that in truth are coming to him, once think that he will cast them out.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Reasons of Observation Third

I come now to the reasons of the observation.

1.  If Jesus Christ should allow thee once to think that he will cast thee out, he must allow thee to think that he will falsify his word; for he hath said, “I will in no wise cast out.”  But Christ would not that thou shouldst count him as one that will falsify his word; for he saith of himself, “I am the truth;” therefore he would not that any that in truth are coming to him, should once think that he will cast them out.

2.  If Jesus Christ should allow the sinner that in truth is coming to him, once to think that he will cast him out, then he must allow, and so countenance the first appearance of unbelief; the which he counteth his greatest enemy, and against which he hast bent even his holy gospel.  Therefore Jesus Christ would not that they that in truth are coming to him, should once think that he will cast them out.  See Matthew 14:31; 21:21, Mark 11:23; Luke 24:25.

3.  If Jesus Christ should allow the coming sinner once to think that he will cast him out; then he must allow him to make a question,

Whether he is willing to receive his Father’s gift; for the coming sinner is his Father’s gift; as also says the text; but he testifieth, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Therefore Jesus Christ would not have him, that in truth is coming to him, once to think that he will cast him out.

4.  If Jesus Christ should allow them once to think, that indeed are coming to him, that he will cast them out, he must allow them to think that he will despise and reject the drawing of his Father.  For no man can come to him but whom the Father draweth.  But it would be high blasphemy, and damnable wickedness once to imagine thus.  Therefore, Jesus Christ would not have him that cometh once think that he will cast him out.

5.  If Jesus Christ should allow those that indeed are coming to him, once to think that he will cast them out, he must allow them to think that he will be unfaithful to the trust and charge that his Father hath committed to him; which is to save, and not to lose anything of that which he hath given unto him to save (John 6:39).  But the Father hath given him a charge to save the coming sinner; therefore it cannot be, that he should allow, that such an one should once think that he will cast him out.

6.  If Jesus Christ should allow that they should once think that are coming to him, that he will cast them out, then he must allow them to think that he will be unfaithful to his office of priesthood; for, as by the first part of it, he paid price for, and ransomed souls, so by the second part thereof, he continually maketh intercession to God for them that come (Heb 7:25).  But he cannot allow us to question his faithful execution of his priesthood.  Therefore he cannot allow us once to think that the coming sinner shall be cast out.

7.  If Jesus Christ should allow us once to think that the coming sinner shall be cast out, then he must allow us to question his will, or power, or merit to save.  But he cannot allow us once to question any of these; therefore not once to think, that the coming sinner shall be cast out.  (1.) He cannot allow them to question his will; for he saith in the text, “I WILL in no wise cast out.”  (2.) He cannot allow us to question his power; for the Holy Ghost saith HE IS ABLE to save to the uttermost them that come.  (3.) He cannot allow them to question the efficacy of his merit; for the blood of Christ cleanseth the comer from all sin, (1 John 1:7), therefore he cannot allow that he that is coming to him should once think that he will cast them out.

8.  If Jesus Christ should allow the coming sinner once to think that he will cast him out, he must allow him to give the lie to the manifest testimony of the Father, Son, and Spirit; yea, to the whole gospel contained in Moses, the prophets, the book of Psalms, and that commonly called the New Testament.  But he cannot allow of this; therefore, not that the coming sinner should once think that he will cast him out.

9.  Lastly, If Jesus Christ should allow him that is coming to him, once to think that he will cast him out, he must allow him to question his Father’s oath, which he in truth and righteousness hath taken, that they might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to Jesus Christ.  But he cannot allow this; therefore he cannot allow that the coming sinner should once think that he will cast him out (Heb 6).

USE AND APPLICATION

I come now to make some GENERAL USE AND APPLICATION OF THE WHOLE, and so to draw towards a conclusion.

USE FIRST.—the First Use—A USE OF INFORMATION; And,

First, It informeth us that men by nature are far off from Christ.  Let me a little improve this use, by speaking to these three questions.  1.  Where is he that is coming [but has not come], to Jesus Christ?  2.  What is he that is not coming to Jesus Christ?  3.  Whither is he to go that cometh not to Jesus Christ?

1.  Where is he?

[Answer.] (1.) He is far from God, he is without him, even alienate from him both in his understanding, will, affections, judgment, and conscience (Eph 2:12; 4:18).  (2.) He is far from Jesus Christ, who is the only deliverer of men from hell fire (Psa 73:27).  (3.) He is far from the work of the Holy Ghost, the work of regeneration, and a second creation, without which no man shall see the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3).  (4.) He is far more righteous, from that righteousness that should make him acceptable in God’s sight (Isa 46:12, 13).  (5.) He is under the power and dominion of sin; sin reigneth in and over him; it dwelleth in every faculty of his soul, and member of his body; so that from head to foot there is no place clean (Isa 1:6; Rom 3:9–18).  (6.) He is in the pest-house with Uzziah and excluded the camp of Israel with the lepers (2 Chron 26:21; Num 5:2; Job 36:14).  (7.) His “life is among the unclean.”  He is “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8:28).  (8.) He is “in sin,” “in the flesh,” “in death,” “in the snare of the devil,” and is “taken captive by him at his will” (1 Cor 15:17; Rom 8:8; 1 John 3:14; 2 Tim 2:26).  (9.) He is under the curse of the law, and the devil dwells in him, and hath the mastery of him (Gal 3:13; Eph 2:2, 3; Acts 26:18).  (10.) He is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knows not whither he goes; for darkness has blinded his eyes.  (11.) He is in the broad way that leadeth to destruction; and holding on, he will assuredly go in at the broad gate, and so down the stairs to hell.

2.  What is he that cometh not to Jesus Christ?

[Answer.] (1.) He is counted one of God’s enemies (Luke 19:14; Rom 8:7).  (2.) He is a child of the devil, and of hell; for the devil begat him, as to his sinful nature, and hell must swallow him at last, because he cometh not to Jesus Christ (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; Matt 23:15; Psa 9:17).  (3.) He is a child of wrath, an heir of it; it is his portion, and God will repay it him to his face (Eph 2:1–3; Job 21:29–31).  (4.) He is a self-murderer; he wrongeth his own soul, and is one that loveth death (Prov 1:18; 8:36).  (5.) He is a companion for devils and damned men (Prov 21:16; Matt 25:41).

3.  Whither is he like to go that cometh not to Jesus Christ?

[Answer.] (1.) He that cometh not to him, is like to go further from him; so every sin is a step further from Jesus Christ (Hosea 11).  (2.) As he is in darkness, so he is like to go on in it; for Christ is the light of the world, and he that comes not to him, walketh in darkness (John 8:12).  (3.) He is like to be removed at last as far from God, and Christ, and heaven, and all felicity, as an infinite God can remove him (Matt 12:41).  But,

Second, This doctrine of coming to Christ informeth us where poor destitute sinners may find life for their souls, and that is in Christ.  This life is in his Son; he that hath the Son, hath life.  And again, “Whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord” (Prov 8:35).  Now, for further enlargement, I will also here propound three more questions: 1.  What life is in Christ?  2.  Who may have it?  3.  Upon what terms?

1.  What life is in Jesus Christ?

[Answer.] (1.) There is justifying life in Christ.  Man by sin is dead in law; and Christ only can deliver him by his righteousness and blood from this death into a state of life.  “For God sent his Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).  That is, through the righteousness which he should accomplish, and the death that he should die.  (2.) There is eternal life in Christ; life that is endless; life for ever and ever.  “He hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).  Now, justification and eternal salvation being both in Christ, and nowhere else to be had for men, who would not come to Jesus Christ?

2.  Who may have this life?

I answer, Poor, helpless, miserable sinners.  Particularly, (1.) Such as are willing to have it.  “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life” (Rev 22:17).  (2.) He that thirsteth for it.  “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life” (Rev 21:6).  (3.) He that is weary of his sins.  “This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing” (Isa 28:12).  (4.) He that is poor and needy.  “He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy” (Psa 72:13).  (5.) He that followeth after him, crieth for life.  “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

3.  Upon what terms may he have this life?

[Answer.] Freely.  Sinner, dost thou hear.  Thou mayest have it freely.  Let him take the water of life freely.  I will give him of the fountain of the water of life freely.  “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both” (Luke 7:42).  Freely, without money, or without price.  “Ho!  every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa 55:1).  Sinner, art thou thirsty?  art thou weary?  art thou willing?  Come, then, and regard not your stuff; for all the good that is in Christ is offered to the coming sinner, without money and without price.  He has life to give away to such as want it, and that hath not a penny to purchase it; and he will give it freely.  Oh what a blessed condition is the coming sinner in!  But,

Third, This doctrine of coming to Jesus Christ for life, informeth us, that it is to be had nowhere else.  Might it be had anywhere else, the text, and him that spoke it, would be but little set by; for what greater matter is there in “I will in no wise cast out,” if another stood by that could receive them?  But here appears the glory of Christ, that none but he can save.  And here appears his love, that though none can save but he, yet he is not coy in saving.  “But him that comes to me,” says he, “I will in no wise cast out.”

That none can save but Jesus Christ, is evident from Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other;” and “he hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).  If life could have been had anywhere else, it should have been in the law.  But it is not in the law; for by the deeds of the law, no man living shall be justified; and if not justified, then no life.  Therefore life is nowhere to be had but in Jesus Christ (Gal 3).

[Question.] But why would God so order it, that life should be had nowhere else but in Jesus Christ?

[Answer.] There is reason for it, and that both with respect to God and us.

1.  With respect to God.

(1.) That it might be in a way of justice as well as mercy.  And in a way of justice it could not have been, if it had not been by Christ; because he, and he only, was able to answer the demand of the law, and give for sin what the justice thereof required.  All angels had been crushed down to hell for ever, had that curse been laid upon them for our sins, which was laid upon Jesus Christ; but it was laid upon him, and he bare it; and answered the penalty, and redeemed his people from under it, with that satisfaction to Divine justice that God himself doth now proclaim, That he is faithful and just to forgive us, if by faith we shall venture to Jesus, and trust to what he has done for life (Rom 3:24–26; John 1:4).  (2.) Life must be by Jesus Christ, that God might be adored and magnified, for finding out this way.  This is the Lord’s doings, that in all things he might be glorified through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (3.) It must be by Jesus Christ, that life might be at God’s dispose, who hath great pity for the poor, the lowly, the meek, the broken in heart, and for them that others care not for (Psa 34:6; 138:6; 25; 51:17; 147:3).  (4.) Life must be in Christ, to cut off boasting from the lips of men.  This also is the apostle’s reason in Romans 3:19, 27 (Eph 2:8–10).

2.  Life must be in Jesus Christ with respect to us.

(1.) That we might have it upon the easiest terms, to wit, freely: as a gift, not as wages.  Was it in Moses’ hand, we should come hardly at it.  Was it in the pope’s hand, we should pay soundly for it.  But thanks be to God, it is in Christ, laid up in him, and by him to be communicated to sinners upon easy terms, even for receiving, accepting, and embracing with thanksgiving; as the Scriptures plainly declare (John 1:11, 12; 2 Cor 11:4; Heb 11:13; Col 3:13–15).  (2.) Life is in Christ FOR US, that it might not be upon so brittle a foundation, as indeed it would had it been anywhere else.  The law itself is weak because of us, as to this.  But Christ is a tried stone, a sure foundation, one that will not fail to bear thy burden, and to receive thy soul, coming sinner.  (3.) Life is in Christ, that it might be sure to all the seed.  Alas!  the best of us, was life left in our hand, to be sure we should forfeit it, over, and over, and over; or, was it in any other hand, we should, by our often backslidings, so offend him, that at last he would shut up his bowels in everlasting displeasure against us.  But now it is in Christ, it is with one that can pity, pray for, pardon, yea, multiply pardons; it is with one that can have compassion upon us, when we are out of the way; with one that hath an heart to fetch us again, when we are gone astray; with one that can pardon without upbraiding.  Blessed be God, that life is in Christ!  For now it is sure to all the seed.  But,

Fourth, This doctrine of coming to Jesus Christ for life informs us of the evil of unbelief; that wicked thing that is the only or chief hindrance to the coming sinner.  Doth the text say, “Come?” Doth it say, “and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out?” Then what an evil is that that keepeth sinners from coming to Jesus Christ!  And that evil is unbelief: for by faith we come; by unbelief we keep away.  Therefore it is said to be that by which a soul is said to depart from God; because it was that which at first caused the world to go off from him, and that also that keeps them from him to this day.  And it doth it the more easily, because it doth it with a wile.

[Of the Sin of Unbelief.]—This sin may be called the white devil, for it oftentimes, in its mischievous doings in the soul, shows as if it was an angel of light: yea, it acteth like a counselor of heaven.  Therefore a little to discourse of this evil disease.

1.  It is that sin, above all others, that hath some show of reason in its attempts.  For it keeps the soul from Christ by pretending its present unfitness and unpreparedness; as want of more sense of sin, want of more repentance, want of more humility, want of a more broken heart.

2.  It is the sin that most suiteth with the conscience: the conscience of the coming sinner tells him that he hath nothing good; that he stands inditeable for ten thousand talents; that he is a very ignorant, blind, and hard-hearted sinner, unworthy to be once taken notice of by Jesus Christ.  And will you, says Unbelief, in such a case as you now are, presume to come to Jesus Christ?

3.  It is the sin that most suiteth with our sense of feeling.  The coming sinner feels the workings of sin, of all manner of sin and wretchedness in his flesh; he also feels the wrath and judgment of God due to sin, and ofttimes staggers under it.  Now, says Unbelief, you may see you have no grace; for that which works in you is corruption.  You may also perceive that God doth not love you, because the sense of his wrath abides upon you.  Therefore, how can you bear the face to come to Jesus Christ?

4.  It is that sin, above all others, that most suiteth with the wisdom of our flesh.  The wisdom of our flesh thinks it prudent to question awhile, to stand back awhile, to hearken to both sides awhile; and not to be rash, sudden, or unadvised, in too bold a presuming upon Jesus Christ.  And this wisdom unbelief falls in with.

5.  It is that sin, above all other, that continually is whispering the soul in the ear with mistrusts of the faithfulness of God, in keeping promise to them that come to Jesus Christ for life.  It also suggests mistrust about Christ’s willingness to receive it, and save it.  And no sin can do this so artificially as unbelief.

6.  It is also that sin which is always at hand to enter an objection against this or that promise that by the Spirit of God is brought to our heart to comfort us; and if the poor coming sinner is not aware of it, it will, by some evasion, slight, trick, or cavil, quickly wrest from him the promise again, and he shall have but little benefit of it.

7.  It is that, above all other sins, that weakness our prayers, our faith, our love, our diligence, our hope, and expectations: it even taketh the heart away from God in duty.

8.  Lastly, This sin, as I have said even now, it appeareth in the soul with so many sweet pretences to safety and security, that it is, as it were, counsel sent from heaven; bidding the soul be wise, wary, considerate, well-advised, and to take heed of too rash a venture upon believing.  Be sure, first, that God loves you; take hold of no promise until you are forced by God unto it; neither be you sure of your salvation; doubt it still, though the testimony of the Lord has been often confirmed in you.  Live not by faith, but by sense; and when you can neither see nor feel, then fear and mistrust, then doubt and question all.  This is the devilish counsel of unbelief, which is so covered over with specious pretences, that the wisest Christian can hardly shake off these reasonings.

[Qualities of unbelief as opposed to faith.]—But to be brief.  Let me here give thee, Christian reader, a more particular description of the qualities of unbelief, by opposing faith unto it, in these twenty-five particulars:—

1.  Faith believeth the Word of God; but unbelief questioneth the certainty of the same (Psa 106:24).

2.  Faith believeth the Word, because it is true; but unbelief doubteth thereof, because it is true (1 Tim 4:3; John 8:45).

3.  Faith sees more in a promise of God to help, than in all other things to hinder; but unbelief, notwithstanding God’s promise, saith, How can these things be?  (Rom 4:19–21; 2 Kings 7:2; John 3:11, 12).

4.  Faith will make thee see love in the heart of Christ, when with his mouth he giveth reproofs; but unbelief will imagine wrath in his heart, when with his mouth and Word he saith he loves us (Matt 15:22, 28; Num 13; 2 Chron 14:3).

5.  Faith will help the soul to wait, though God defers to give; but unbelief will take huff and throw up all, if God makes any tarrying (Psa 25:5; Isa 8:17; 2 Kings 6:33; Psa 106:13, 14).

6.  Faith will give comfort in the midst of fears; but unbelief causeth fears in the midst of comfort (2 Chron 20:20, 21; Matt 8:26; Luke 24:26; 27).

7.  Faith will suck sweetness out of God’s rod; but unbelief can find no comfort in his greatest mercies (Psa 23:4; Num 21).

8.  Faith maketh great burdens light; but unbelief maketh light ones intolerably heavy (2 Cor 4:1; 14–18; Mal 1:12, 13).

9.  Faith helpeth us when we are down; but unbelief throws us down when we are up (Micah 7:8–10; Heb 4:11).

10.  Faith bringeth us near to God when we are far from him; but unbelief puts us far from God when we are near to him (Heb 10:22; 3:12, 13).

11.  Where faith reigns, it declareth men to be the friends of God; but where unbelief reigns, it declareth them to be his enemies (John 3:23; Heb 3:18; Rev 21:8).

12.  Faith putteth a man under grace; but unbelief holdeth him under wrath (Rom 3:24–26; 14:6; Eph 2:8; John 3:36; 1 John 5:10; Heb 3:17; Mark 16:16).

13.  Faith purifieth the heart; but unbelief keepeth it polluted and impure (Acts 15:9; Titus 1:15, 16).

14.  By faith, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us; but by unbelief, we are shut up under the law to perish (Rom 4:23, 24; 11:32; Gal 3:23).

15.  Faith maketh our work acceptable to God through Christ; but whatsoever is of unbelief is sin.  For without faith it is impossible to please him (Heb 11:4; Rom 14:23; Heb 6:6).

16.  Faith giveth us peace and comfort in our souls; but unbelief worketh trouble and tossings, like the restless waves of the sea (Rom 5:1; James 1:6).

17.  Faith maketh us to see preciousness in Christ; but unbelief sees no form, beauty, or comeliness in him (1 Peter 2:7; Isa 53:2, 3).

18.  By faith we have our life in Christ’s fullness; but by unbelief we starve and pine away (Gal 2:20).

19.  Faith gives us the victory over the law, sin, death, the devil, and all evils; but unbelief layeth us obnoxious to them all (1 John 5:4, 5; Luke 12:46).

20.  Faith will show us more excellency in things not seen, than in them that are; but unbelief sees more in things that are seen, than in things that will be hereafter;.  (2 Cor 4:18; Heb 11:24–27; 1 Cor 15:32).

21.  Faith makes the ways of God pleasant and admirable; but unbelief makes them heavy and hard (Gal 5:6; 1 Cor 12:10, 11; John 6:60; Psa 2:3).

22.  By faith Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob possessed the land of promise; but because of unbelief, neither Aaron, nor Moses, nor Miriam could get thither (Heb 11:9; 3:19).

23.  By faith the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea; but by unbelief the generality of them perished in the wilderness (Heb 11:29; Jude 5).

24.  By faith Gideon did more with three hundred men, and a few empty pitchers, than all the twelve tribes could do, because they believed not God (Judg 7:16–22; Num 14:11, 14).

25.  By faith Peter walked on the water; but by unbelief he began to sink (Matt 14:28–30).

Thus might many more be added, which, for brevity’s sake, I omit; beseeching every one that thinketh he hath a soul to save, or be damned, to take heed of unbelief; lest, seeing there is a promise left us of entering into his rest, any of us by unbelief should indeed come short of it.

USE SECOND.  The Second Use—A USE OF EXAMINATION

We come now to a use of examination.  Sinner, thou hast heard of the necessity of coming to Christ; also of the willingness of Christ to receive the coming soul; together with the benefit that they by him shall have that indeed come to him.  Put thyself now upon this serious inquiry, Am I indeed come to Jesus Christ?

Motives plenty I might here urge, to prevail with thee to a conscientious performance of this duty.  As, 1.  Thou art in sin, in the flesh, in death, in the snare of the devil, and under the curse of the law, if you are not coming to Jesus Christ.  2.  There is no way to be delivered from these, but by coming to Jesus Christ.  3.  If thou comest, Jesus Christ will receive thee, and will in no wise cast thee out.  4.  Thou wilt not repent it in the day of judgment, if now thou comest to Jesus Christ.  5.  But thou wilt surely mourn at last, if now thou shalt refuse to come.  6.  And lastly, Now thou hast been invited to come; now will thy judgment be greater, and thy damnation more fearful, if thou shalt yet refuse, than if thou hadst never heard of coming to Christ.

Object.  But we hope we are come to Jesus Christ.

Answer.  It is well if it proves so.  But lest thou shouldst speak without ground, and so fall unawares into hell-fire, let us examine a little.

First, Art thou indeed come to Jesus Christ?  What hast thou left behind thee?  What didst thou come away from, in thy coming to Jesus Christ?

When Lot came out of Sodom, he left the Sodomites behind him (Gen 19).  When Abraham came out of Chaldea, he left his country and kindred behind him (Gen 12; Acts 7).  When Ruth came to put her trust under the wings of the Lord God of Israel, she left her father and mother, her gods, and the land of her nativity, behind her (Ruth 1:15–17; 2:11, 12).  When Peter came to Christ, he left his nets behind him (Matt 4:20).  When Zaccheus came to Christ, he left the receipt of custom behind him (Luke 19).  When Paul came to Christ, he left his own righteousness behind him (Phil 3:7, 8).  When those that used curious arts came to Jesus Christ, they took their curious books and burned them; though, in another man’s eye, they were counted worth fifty thousand pieces of silver (Acts 19:18–20).

What sayest thou, man?  Hast thou left thy darling sins, thy Sodomitish pleasures, thy acquaintance and vain companions, thy unlawful gain, thy idol-gods, thy righteousness, and thy unlawful curious arts, behind thee?  If any of these be with thee, and thou with them, in thy heart and life, thou art not yet come to Jesus Christ.

Second, Art thou come to Jesus Christ?  Prithee tell me what moved thee to come to Jesus Christ?

Men do not usually come or go to this or that place, before they have a moving cause, or rather a cause moving them thereto.  No more do they come to Jesus Christ—I do not say, before they have a cause, but—before that cause moveth them to come.  What sayest thou?  Hast thou a cause moving thee to come?  To be at present in a state of condemnation, is cause sufficient for men to come to Jesus Christ for life.  But that will not do, except the cause move them; the which it will never do, until their eyes be opened to see themselves in that condition.  For it is not a man’s being under wrath, but his seeing it, that moveth him to come to Jesus Christ.  Alas!  all men by sin are under wrath; yet but few of that all come to Jesus Christ.  And the reason is, because they do not see their condition.  “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt 3:7).  Until men are warned, and also receive the warning, they will not come to Jesus Christ.

Take three or four instances for this.  Adam and Eve came not to Jesus Christ until they received the alarm, the conviction of their undone state by sin.  (Gen 3) The children of Israel cried not out for a mediator before they saw themselves in danger of death by the law (Exo 20:18, 19).  Before the publican came, he saw himself lost and undone (Luke 18:13).  The prodigal came not, until he saw death at the door, ready to devour him (Luke 15:17, 18).  The three thousand came not, until they knew not what to do to be saved (Acts 2:37–39).  Paul came not, until he saw himself lost and undone (Acts 9:3–8, 11).  Lastly, Before the jailer came, he saw himself undone (Acts 16:29–31).  And I tell thee, it is an easier thing to persuade a well man to go to the physician for cure, or a man without hurt to seek for a plaster to cure him, than it is to persuade a man that sees not his soul-disease, to come to Jesus Christ.  The whole have no need of the physician; then why should they go to him?  The full pitcher can hold no more; then why should it go to the fountain?  And if thou comest full, thou comest not aright; and be sure Christ will send thee empty away.  “But he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds” (Mark 2:17; Psa 147:3; Luke 1:53).

Third, Art thou coming to Jesus Christ?  Prithee tell me, What seest thou in him to allure thee to forsake all the world, to come to him?

I say, What hast thou seen in him?  Men must see something in Jesus Christ, else they will not come to him.  1.  What comeliness hast thou seen in his person?  thou comest not, if thou seest no form nor comeliness in him (Isa 53:1–3).  2.  Until those mentioned in the Song were convinced that there was more beauty, comeliness, and desirableness in Christ, than in ten thousand, they did not so much as ask where he was, nor incline to turn aside after him (Song 5, 6).

There be many things on this side heaven that can and do carry away the heart; and so will do, so long as thou livest, if thou shalt be kept blind, and not be admitted to see the beauty of the Lord Jesus.

Fourth, Art thou come to the Lord Jesus?  What hast thou found in him, since thou camest to him?

Peter found with him the word of eternal life (John 6:68).  They that Peter makes mention of, found him a living stone, even such a living stone as communicated life to them (1 Peter 2:4, 5).  He saith himself, they that come to him, &c., shall find rest unto their souls; hast thou found rest in him for thy soul?  (Matt 11:28).

Let Us Go Back to the Times of the Old Testament

1.  Abraham found THAT in him, that made him leave his country for him, and become for his sake a pilgrim and stranger in the earth (Gen 12; Heb 11).

2.  Moses found THAT in him, that made him forsake a crown, and a kingdom for him too.

3.  David found so much in him, that he counted to be in his house one day was better than a thousand; yea, to be a door-keeper therein was better, in his esteem, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (Psa 84:10).

4.  What did Daniel and the three children find in him, to make them run the hazards of the fiery furnace, and the den of lions, for his sake?  (Dan 3, 6).

Let Us Come Down to Martyrs

1.  Stephen found that in him that made him joyful, and quietly yield up his life for his name (Acts 7).

2.  Ignatius found that in Christ that made him choose to go through the torments of the devil, and hell itself, rather than not to have him.—Fox’s Acts and Monuments, vol.  1, p.  52, Anno.  111.  Edit.  1632.

3.  What saw Romanus in Christ, when he said to the raging Emperor, who threatened him with fearful torments, Thy sentence, O Emperor, I joyfully embrace, and refuse not to be sacrificed by as cruel torments as thou canst invent?—Fox, vol.  1, p.  116.

4.  What saw Menas, the Egyptian, in Christ, when he said, under most cruel torments, There is nothing in my mind that can be compared to the kingdom of heaven; neither is all the world, if it was weighed in a balance, to be preferred with the price of one soul?  Who is able to separate us from the love of Jesus Christ our Lord?  And I have learned of my Lord and King not to fear them that kill the body, &c.  P.  117.

5.  What did Eulalia see in Christ, when she said, as they were pulling her one joint from another, Behold, O Lord, I will not forget thee.  What a pleasure it is for them, O Christ!  that remember thy triumphant victory?  P.  121.

6.  What think you did Agnes see in Christ, when rejoicingly she went to meet the soldier that was appointed to be her executioner.  I will willingly, said she, receive into my paps the length of this sword, and into my breast will draw the force thereof, even to the hilts; that thus I, being married to Christ my spouse, may surmount and escape all the darkness of this world?  P.  122.

7.  What do you think did Julitta see in Christ, when, at the Emperor’s telling of her, that except she would worship the gods, she should never have protection, laws, judgments, nor life, she replied, Farewell life, welcome death; farewell riches, welcome poverty: all that I have, if it were a thousand times more, would I rather lose, than to speak one wicked and blasphemous word against my Creator?  P.  123.

8.  What did Marcus Arethusius see in Christ, when after his enemies had cut his flesh, anointed it with honey, and hanged him up in a basket for flies and bees to feed on, he would not give, to uphold idolatry, one halfpenny to save his life?  P.  128.

9.  What did Constantine see in Christ, when he used to kiss the wounds of them that suffered for him?  P.  135.

10.  But what need I give thus particular instances of words and smaller actions, when by their lives, their blood, their enduring hunger, sword, fire, pulling asunder, and all torments that the devil and hell could devise, for the love they bare to Christ, after they were come to him?

What Hast THOU Found in Him, Sinner?

What!  come to Christ, and find nothing in him!—when all things that are worth looking after are in him!—or if anything, yet not enough to wean thee from thy sinful delights, and fleshly lusts!  Away, away, thou art not coming to Jesus Christ.

He that has come to Jesus Christ, hath found in him, that, as I said, that is not to be found anywhere else.  As,

1.  He that is come to Christ hath found God in him reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses to them.  And so God is not to be found in heaven and earth besides (2 Cor 5:19, 20).

2.  He that is come to Jesus Christ hath found in him a fountain of grace, sufficient, not only to pardon sin, but to sanctify the soul, and to preserve it from falling, in this evil world.

3.  He that is come to Jesus Christ hath found virtue in him; THAT virtue, that if he does but touch thee with his Word, or thou him by faith, life is forthwith conveyed into thy soul.  It makes thee wake as one that is waked out of his sleep; it awakes all the powers of the soul (Psa 30:11, 12; Song 6:12).

4.  Art thou come to Jesus Christ?  Thou hast found glory in him, glory that surmounts and goes beyond.  “Thou art more glorious-than the mountains of prey” (Psa 76:4).

5.  What shall I say?  Thou hast found righteousness in him; thou hast found rest, peace, delight, heaven, glory, and eternal life.

Sinner, be advised; ask thy heart again, saying, Am I come to Jesus Christ?  For upon this one question, Am I come, or, am I not?  hangs heaven and hell as to thee.  If thou canst say, I am come, and God shall approve that saying, happy, happy, happy man art thou!  But if thou art not come, what can make thee happy?  yea, what can make that man happy that, for his not coming to Jesus Christ for life, must be damned in hell?

USE THIRD.—the Third Use—A USE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Coming sinner, I have now a word for thee; be of good comfort, “He will in no wise cast out.”  Of all men, thou art the blessed of the Lord; the Father hath prepared his Son to be a sacrifice for thee, and Jesus Christ, thy Lord, is gone to prepare a place for thee (John 1:29; Heb 10).  What shall I say to thee?

[First,] Thou comest to a FULL Christ; thou canst not want anything for soul or body, for this world or that to come, but it is to be had in or by Jesus Christ.  As it is said of the land that the Danites went to possess, so, and with much more truth, it may be said of Christ; he is such an one with whom there is no want of any good thing that is in heaven or earth.  A full Christ is thy Christ.

1.  He is full of grace.  Grace is sometimes taken for love; never any loved like Jesus Christ.  Jonathan’s love went beyond the love of women; but the love of Christ passes knowledge.  It is beyond the love of all the earth, of all creatures, even of men and angels.  His love prevailed with him to lay aside his glory, to leave the heavenly place, to clothe himself with flesh, to be born in a stable, to be laid in a manger, to live a poor life in the world, to take upon him our sicknesses, infirmities, sins, curse, death, and the wrath that was due to man.  And all this he did for a base, undeserving, unthankful people; yea, for a people that was at enmity with him.  “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more, then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:6–10).

2.  He is full of truth.  Full of grace and truth.  Truth, that is, faithfulness in keeping promise, even this of the text, with all other, “I will in no wise cast out” (John 14:6).  Hence it is said, that his words be true, and that he is the faithful God, that keepeth covenant.  And hence it is also that his promises are called truth: “Thou wilt fulfil thy truth unto Jacob, and thy mercy unto Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”  Therefore it is said again, that both himself and words are truth: “I am the truth, the Scripture of truth” (Dan 10:21).  “Thy word is truth,” (John 17:17; 2 Sam 7:28); “thy law is truth,” (Psa 119:142); and “my mouth,” saith he, “shall speak truth,” (Prov 8:7); see also Ecclesiastes 12:10; Isaiah 25:1; Malachi 2:6; Acts 26:25, 2 Timothy 2:12, 13.  Now, I say, his word is truth, and he is full of truth to fulfil his truth, even to a thousand generations.  Coming sinner, he will not deceive thee; come boldly to Jesus Christ.

3.  He is full of wisdom.  He is made unto us of God wisdom; wisdom to manage the affairs of his church in general, and the affairs of every coming sinner in particular.  And upon this account he is said to be “head over all things,” (1 Cor 1; Eph 1), because he manages all things that are in the world by his wisdom, for the good of his church; all men’s actions, all Satan’s temptations, all God’s providences, all crosses, and disappointments; all things whatever are under the hand of Christ—who is the wisdom of God—and he ordereth them all for good to his church.  And can Christ help it—and be sure he can—nothing shall happen or fall out in the world, but it shall, in despite of all opposition, have a good tendency to his church and people.

4.  He is full of the Spirit, to communicate it to the coming sinner; he hath therefore received it without measure, that he may communicate it to every member of his body, according as every man’s measure thereof is allotted him by the Father.  Wherefore he saith, that he that comes to him, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 3:34; Titus 3:5, 6; Acts 2; John 7:33–39).

5.  He is indeed a storehouse full of all the graces of the Spirit.  “Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).  Here is more faith, more love, more sincerity, more humility, more of every grace; and of this, even more of this, he giveth to every lowly, humble, penitent coming sinner.  Wherefore, coming soul, thou comest not to a barren wilderness when thou comest to Jesus Christ.

6.  He is full of bowels and compassion: and they shall feel and find it so that come to him for life.  He can bear with thy weaknesses, he can pity thy ignorance, he can be touched with the feeling of thy infirmities, he can affectionately forgive they transgressions, he can heal thy backslidings, and love thee freely.  His compassions fail not; “and he will not break a bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax; he can pity them that no eye pities, and be afflicted in all thy afflictions” (Matt 26:41; Heb 5:2; 2:18; Matt 9:2; Hosea 14:4; Eze 16:5, 6; Isa 63:9; Psa 78:38; 86:15; 111:4; 112:4; Lam 3:22; Isa 42:3).

7.  Coming soul, the Jesus that thou art coming to, is full of might and terribleness for thy advantage; he can suppress all thine enemies; he is the Prince of the kings of the earth; he can bow all men’s designs for thy help; he can break all snares laid for thee in the way; he can lift thee out of all difficulties wherewith thou mayest be surrounded; he is wise in heart, and mighty in power.  Every life under heaven is in his hand; yea, the fallen angels tremble before him.  And he will save thy life, coming sinner (1 Cor 1:24; Rom 8:28; Matt 28:18; Rev 4; Psa 19:3; 27:5, 6; Job 9:4; John 17:2; Matt 8:29; Luke 8:28; James 2:19).

8.  Coming sinner, the Jesus to whom thou art coming is lowly in heart, he despiseth not any.  It is not thy outward meanness, nor thy inward weakness; it is not because thou art poor, or base, or deformed, or a fool, that he will despise thee: he hath chosen the foolish, the base, and despised things of this world, to confound the wise and mighty.  He will bow his ear to thy stammering prayers he will pick out the meaning of thy inexpressible groans; he will respect thy weakest offering, if there be in it but thy heart (Matt 11:20; Luke 14:21; Prov 9:4–6; Isa 38:14, 15; Song 5:15; John 4:27; Mark 12:33, 34; James 5:11).  Now, is not this a blessed Christ, coming sinner?  Art thou not like to fare well, when thou hast embraced him, coming sinner?  But,

Second.  Thou hast yet another advantage by Jesus Christ, thou art coming to him, for he is not only full, BUT FREE.  He is not sparing of what he has; he is open-hearted and open-handed.  Let me in a few particulars show thee this:

1.  This is evident, because he calls thee; he calls upon thee to come unto him; the which he would not do, was he not free to give; yea, he bids thee, when come, ask, seek, knock.  And for thy encouragement, adds to every command a promise, “Seek, and ye shall find; ask, and ye shall have; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  If the rich man should say thus to the poor, would not he be reckoned a free-hearted man?  I say, should he say to the poor, Come to my door, ask at my door, knock at my door, and you shall find and have; would he not be counted liberal?  Why, thus doth Jesus Christ.  Mind it, coming sinner (Isa 55:3; Psa 50:15; Matt 7:7–9).

2.  He doth not only bid thee come, but tells thee, he will heartily do thee good; yea, he will do it with rejoicing; “I will rejoice over them, to do them good-with my whole heart, and with my whole soul” (Jer 32:41).

3.  It appeareth that he is free, because he giveth without twitting.  “He giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not” (James 1, 5).  There are some that will not deny to do the poor a pleasure, but they will mix their mercies with so many twits, that the persons on whom they bestow their charity shall find but little sweetness in it.  But Christ doth not do so, coming sinner; he casteth all thine iniquities behind his back (Isa 38:17).  Thy sins and iniquities he will remember no more (Heb 8:12).

4.  That Christ is free, is manifest by the complaints that he makes against them that will not come to him for mercy.  I say, he complains, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!  how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matt 23:37).  I say, he speaks it by way of complaint.  He saith also in another place, “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob” (Isa 43:22).  Coming sinner, see here the willingness of Christ to save; see here how free he is to communicate life, and all good things, to such as thou art.  He complains, if thou comest not; he is displeased, if thou callest not upon him.  Hark, coming sinner, once again; when Jerusalem would not come to him for safeguard, “he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes” (Luke 19:41, 42).

5.  Lastly, He is open and free-hearted to do thee good, as is seen by the joy and rejoicing that he manifesteth at the coming home of poor prodigals.  He receives the lost sheep with rejoicing; the lost goat with rejoicing; yea, when the prodigal came home, what joy and mirth, what music and dancing, was in his father’s house!  (Luke 15).

Third.  Coming sinner, I will add another encouragement for thy help.

1.  God hath prepared a mercy-seat, a throne of grace to sit on; that thou mayest come thither to him, and that he may from thence hear thee, and receive thee.  “I will commune with thee,” saith he, “from above the mercy-seat” (Exo 25:22).  As who shall say, sinner, When thou comest to me, thou shalt find me upon the mercy-seat, where also I am always found of the undone coming sinner.  Thither I bring my pardons; there I hear and receive their petitions, and accept them to my favour.

2.  God hath also prepared a golden altar for thee to offer thy prayers and tears upon.  A golden altar!  It is called a “golden altar,” to show what worth it is of in God’s account: for this golden altar is Jesus Christ; this altar sanctifies thy gift, and makes thy sacrifice acceptable.  This altar, then, makes thy groans golden groans; thy tears golden tears; and thy prayers golden prayers, in the eye of that God thou comest to, coming sinner (Rev 8; Matt 23:19; Heb 10:10; 1 Peter 2:5).

3.  God hath strewed all the way, from the gate of hell, where thou wast, to the gate of heaven, whither thou art going, with flowers out of his own garden.  Behold how the promises, invitations, calls, and encouragements, like lilies, lie round about thee!  take heed that thou dost not tread them under foot, sinner.  With promises, did I say?  Yea, he hath mixed all those with his own name, his Son’s name; also, with the name of mercy, goodness, compassion, love, pity, grace, forgiveness, pardon, and what not, that may encourage the coming sinner.

4.  He hath also for thy encouragement laid up the names, and set forth the sins, of those that have been saved.  In this book they are fairly written, that thou, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, mightest have hope.  (1.) In this book is recorded Noah’s maim and sin; and how God had mercy upon him.  (2.) In this record is fairly written the name of Lot, and the nature of his sin; and how the Lord had mercy upon him.  (3.) In this record thou hast also fairly written the names of Moses, Aaron, Gideon, Samson, David, Solomon, Peter, Paul, with the nature of their sins; and how God had mercy upon them; and all to encourage thee, coming sinner.

Fourth.  I will add yet another encouragement for the man that is coming to Jesus Christ.  Art thou coming?  Art thou coming, indeed?  Why,

1.  Then this thy coming is by virtue of God’s call.  Thou art called.  Calling goes before coming.  Coming is not of works, but of him that calleth.  “He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would; and they came unto him” (Mark 3:13).

2.  Art thou coming?  This is also by virtue of illumination.  God has made thee see; and, therefore, thou art coming.  So long as thou wast darkness, thou lovedst darkness, and couldst not abide to come, because thy deeds were evil; but being now illuminated and made to see what and where thou art, and also what and where thy Saviour is, now thou art coming to Jesus Christ; “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee,” saith Christ, “but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 16:17).

3.  Art thou coming?  This is because God hath inclined thine heart to come.  God hath called thee, illuminated thee, and inclined thy heart to come; and, therefore, thou comest to Jesus Christ.  It is God that worketh in thee to will, and to come to Jesus Christ.  Coming sinner, bless God for that he hath given thee a will to come to Jesus Christ.  It is a sign that thou belongest to Jesus Christ, because God has made thee willing to come to him (Psa 110:3).  Bless God for slaying the enmity of thy mind; had he not done it, thou wouldst as yet have hated thine own salvation.

4.  Art thou coming to Jesus Christ?  It is God that giveth thee power: power to pursue thy will in the matters of thy salvation, is the gift of God.  “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do” (Phil 2:13).  Not that God worketh will to come, where he gives no power; but thou shouldest take notice, that power is an additional mercy.  The church saw that will and power were two things, when she cried, “Draw me, we will run after thee” (Song 1:4).  And so did David too, when he said, “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psa 119:32).  Will to come, and power to pursue thy will, is double mercy, coming sinner.

5.  All thy strange, passionate, sudden rushings forward after Jesus Christ, coming sinners know what I mean, they also are thy helps from God.  Perhaps thou feelest at some times more than at others, strong stirrings up of heart to fly to Jesus Christ; now thou hast at this time a sweet and stiff gale of the Spirit of God, filling thy sails with the fresh gales of his good Spirit; and thou ridest at those times as upon the wings of the wind, being carried out beyond thyself, beyond the most of thy prayers, and also above all thy fear and temptations.

6.  Coming sinner, hast thou not now and then a kiss of the sweet lips of Jesus Christ, I mean some blessed word dropping like a honey-comb upon thy soul to revive thee, when thou art in the midst of thy dumps?

7.  Does not Jesus Christ sometimes give thee a glimpse of himself, though perhaps thou seest him not so long a time as while one may tell twenty.

8.  Hast thou not sometimes as it were the very warmth of his wings overshadowing the face of thy soul, that gives thee as it were a gload upon thy spirit, as the bright beams of the sun do upon thy body, when it suddenly breaks out of a cloud, though presently all is gone away?  Well, all these things are the good hand of thy God upon thee, and they are upon thee to constrain, to provoke, and to make thee willing and able to come, coming sinner, that thou mightest in the end be saved.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 271–273).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 19

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 19

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 19

Comers Ofttimes Afraid That Christ Will Not Receive Them

OBSERVATION SECOND.—I come now to the second observation propounded to be spoken to, to wit, That they that are coming to Jesus Christ, are ofttimes heartily afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive them.

I told you that this observation is implied in the text; and I gather it,

First, From the largeness and openness of the promise: “I will in no wise cast out.”  For had there not been a proneness in us to “fear casting out,”  Christ needed not to have, as it were, waylaid our fear, as he doth by this great and strange expression, “In no wise;”  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  There needed not, as I may say, such a promise to be invented by the wisdom of heaven, and worded at such a rate, as it were on purpose to dash in pieces at one blow all the objections of coming sinners, if they were not prone to admit of such objections, to the discouraging of their own souls.  For this word, “in no wise,” cutteth the throat of all objections; and it was dropped by the Lord Jesus for that very end; and to help the faith that is mixed with unbelief.  And it is, as it were, the sum of all promises; neither can any objection be made upon the unworthiness that thou findest in thee, that this promise will not assoil.

    But I am a great sinner, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

    But I am an old sinner, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

    But I am a hard-hearted sinner, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

    But I am a backsliding sinner, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

    But I have served Satan all my days, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

    But I have sinned against light, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

    But I have sinned against mercy, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

    But I have no good thing to bring with me, sayest thou.

    “I will in no wise cast out,”  says Christ.

Thus I might go on to the end of things, and show you, that still this promise was provided to answer all objections, and doth answer them.  But I say, what need it be, if they that are coming to Jesus Christ are not sometimes, yea, oftentimes, heartily afraid, “that Jesus Christ will cast them out?”

Second, I will give you now two instances that seem to imply the truth of this observation.

In the ninth of Matthew, at the second verse, you read of a man that was sick of the palsy; and he was coming to Jesus Christ, being borne upon a bed by his friends: he also was coming himself, and that upon another account than any of his friends were aware of; even for the pardon of sins, and the salvation of his soul.  Now, so soon as ever he was come into the presence of Christ, Christ bids him “be of good cheer.”  It seems then, his heart was fainting; but what was the cause of his fainting?  Not his bodily infirmity, for the cure of which his friends did bring him to Christ; but the guilt and burden of his sins, for the pardon of which himself did come to him; therefore he proceeds, “Be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.”  I say, Christ saw him sinking in his mind, about how it would go with his most noble part; and therefore, first, he applies himself to him upon that account.  For though his friends had faith enough as to the cure of the body, yet he himself had little enough as to the cure of his soul: therefore Christ takes him up as a man falling down, saying, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.”

That about the Prodigal seems pertinent also to this matter: “When he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father.”  Heartily spoken; but how did he perform his promise?  I think not so well as he promised to do; and my ground for my thoughts is, because his father, so soon as he was come to him, fell upon his neck and kissed him; implying, methinks, as if the prodigal by this time was dejected in his mind; and therefore his father gives him the most sudden and familiar token of reconciliation.  And kisses were of old time often used to remove doubts and fears.  Thus Laban and Esau kiss Jacob.  Thus Joseph kissed his brethren; and thus also David kissed Absalom (Gen 31:55; 33:1–4; 48:9, 10; 2 Sam 14:33).  It is true, as I said, at first setting out, he spake heartily, as sometimes sinners also do in their beginning to come to Jesus Christ; but might not he, yea, in all probability he had, between the first step he took, and the last, by which he accomplished that journey, many a thought, both this way and that; as whether his father would receive him or no?  As thus: I said, “I would go to my Father.”  But how, if when I come at him he should ask me, Where I have all this while been?  What must I say then?  Also, if he ask me, What is become of the portion of goods that he gave me?  What shall I say then?  If he asks me, Who have been my companions?  What shall I say then?  If he also shall ask me, What hath been my preferment in all the time of my absence from him?  What shall I say then?  Yea, and if he ask me, Why I came home no sooner?  What shall I say then?  Thus, I say, might he reason with himself, and being conscious to himself, that he could give but a bad answer to any of these interrogatories, no marvel if he stood in need first of all of a kiss from his father’s lips.  For had he answered the first in truth, he must say, I have been a haunter of taverns and ale-houses; and as for my portion, I spent it in riotous living; my companions were whores and drabs; as for my preferment, the highest was, that I became a hog-herd; and as for my not coming home till now, could I have made shift to have staid abroad any longer, I had not lain at thy feet for mercy now.

I say, these things considered, and considering, again, how prone poor man is to give way, when truly awakened, to despondings and heart misgivings, no marvel if he did sink in his mind, between the time of his first setting out, and that of his coming to his Father.

Third, But, thirdly, methinks I have for the confirmation of this truth the consent of all the saints that are under heaven, to wit, That they that are coming to Jesus Christ, are ofttimes heartily afraid that he will not receive them.

Question.  But what should be the reason?  I will answer to this question thus:

1.  It is not for want of the revealed will of God, that manifesteth grounds for the contrary, for of that there is a sufficiency; yea, the text itself hath laid a sufficient foundation for encouragement, for them that are coming to Jesus Christ.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

2.  It is not for want of any invitation to come, for that is full and plain.  “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”  (Matt 11:28).

3.  Neither is it for want of a manifestation of Christ’s willingness to receive, as those texts above named, with that which follows, declareth, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink”  (John 7:37).

4.  It is not for want of exceeding great and precious promises to receive them that come.  “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”  (2 Cor 6:17, 18).

5.  It is not for want of solemn oath and engagement to save them that come.  “For-because he could swear by no greater, he swear by himself-that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us”  (Heb 6:13–18).

6.  Neither is it for want of great examples of God’s mercy, that have come to Jesus Christ, of which we read most plentifully in the Word.  Therefore, it must be concluded, it is for want of that which follows.

What it is that prevents the Coming to Christ

First, It is for want of the knowledge of Christ.  Thou knowest but little of the grace and kindness that is in the heart of Christ; thou knowest but little of the virtue and merit of his blood; thou knowest but little of the willingness that is in his heart to save thee; and this is the reason of the fear that ariseth in thy heart, and that causeth thee to doubt that Christ will not receive thee.  Unbelief is the daughter of Ignorance.  Therefore Christ saith, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe”  (Luke 24:25).

Slowness of heart to believe, flows from thy foolishness in the things of Christ; this is evident to all that are acquainted with themselves, and are seeking after Jesus Christ.  The more ignorance, the more unbelief.  The more knowledge of Christ, the more faith.  “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee”  (Psa 9:10).  He, therefore, that began to come to Christ but the other day, and hath yet but little knowledge of him, he fears that Christ will not receive him.  But he that hath been longer acquainted with him, he “is strong, and hath overcome the wicked one”  (1 John 2:13).  When Joseph’s brethren came into Egypt to buy corn, it is said, “Joseph knew his brethren, but his brethren knew not him.”  What follows?  Why, great mistrust of heart about their speeding well; especially, if Joseph did but answer them roughly, calling them spies, and questioning their truth and the like.  And observe it, so long as their ignorance about their brother remained with them, whatsoever Joseph did, still they put the worse sense upon it.  For instance, Joseph upon a time bids the steward of his house bring them home, to dine with him, to dine even in Joseph’s house.  And how is this resented by them?  Why, they are afraid.  “And the men were afraid, because they were brought unto”  their brother “Joseph’s house.”  And they said, He seeketh occasion against us, and will fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses (Gen 42, 43).  What!  afraid to go to Joseph’s house?  He was their brother; he intended to feast them; to feast them, and to feast with them.  Ah!  but they were ignorant that he was their brother.  And so long as their ignorance lasted, so long their fear terrified them.  Just thus it is with the sinner that but of late is coming to Jesus Christ.  He is ignorant of the love and pity that is in Christ to coming sinners.  Therefore he doubts, therefore he fears, therefore his heart misgives him.

Coming sinner, Christ inviteth thee to dine and sup with him.  He inviteth thee to a banquet of wine, yea, to come into his wine-cellar, and his banner over thee shall be love (Rev 3:20; Song 2:5).  But I doubt it, says the sinner: but, it is answered, he calls thee, invites thee to his banquet, flagons, apples; to his wine, and to the juice of his pomegranate.  “O, I fear, I doubt, I mistrust, I tremble in expectation of the contrary!”  Come out of the man, thou dastardly ignorance!  Be not afraid, sinner, only believe; “He that cometh to Christ he will in no wise cast out.”

Let the coming sinner, therefore, seek after more of the good knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Press after it, seek it as silver, and dig for it as for hid treasure.  This will embolden thee; this will make thee wax stronger and stronger.  “I know whom I have believed,”  I know him, said Paul; and what follows?  Why, “and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day”  (2 Tim 1:12).  What had Paul committed to Jesus Christ?  The answer is, He had committed to him his soul.  But why did he commit his soul to him?  Why, because he knew him.  He knew him to be faithful, to be kind.  He knew he would not fail him, nor forsake him; and therefore he laid his soul down at his feet, and committed it to him, to keep against that day.  But,

Second, Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may be also a consequent of thy earnest and strong desires after thy salvation by him.  For this I observe, that strong desires to have, are attended with strong fears of missing.  What man most sets his heart upon, and what his desires are most after, he ofttimes most fears he shall not obtain.  So the man, the ruler of the synagogue, had a great desire that his daughter should live; and that desire was attended with fear, that she should not.  Wherefore, Christ saith unto him, “Be not afraid”  (Mark 5:36).

Suppose a young man should have his heart much set upon a virgin to have her to wife, if ever he fears he shall not obtain her, it is when he begins to love; now, thinks he, somebody will step in betwixt my love and the object of it; either they will find fault with my person, my estate, my conditions, or something!  Now thoughts begin to work; she doth not like me, or something.  And thus it is with the soul at first coming to Jesus Christ, thou lovest him, and thy love produceth jealousy, and that jealousy ofttimes begets fears.

Now thou fearest the sins of thy youth, the sins of thine old age, the sins of thy calling, the sins of thy Christian duties, the sins of thine heart, or something; thou thinkest something or other will alienate the heart and affections of Jesus Christ from thee; thou thinkest he sees something in thee, for the sake of which he will refuse thy soul.  But be content, a little more knowledge of him will make thee take better heart; thy earnest desires shall not be attended with such burning fears; thou shalt hereafter say, “This is my infirmity”  (Psa 77:10).

Thou art sick of love, a very sweet disease, and yet every disease has some weakness attending of it: yet I wish this distemper, if it be lawful to call it so, was more epidemical.  Die of this disease I would gladly do; it is better than life itself, though it be attended with fears.  But thou criest, I cannot obtain: well, be not too hasty in making conclusions.  If Jesus Christ had not put his finger in at the hole of the lock, thy bowels would not have been troubled for him (Song 5:4).  Mark how the prophet hath it, “They shall walk after the Lord; he shall roar like a lion; when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west, they shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria”  (Hosea 11:10, 11).  When God roars (as ofttimes the coming soul hears him roar), what man that is coming can do otherwise than tremble?  (Amos 3:8).  But trembling he comes: “He sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas”  (Acts 16:29).

Should you ask him that we mentioned but now, How long is it since you began to fear you should miss of this damsel you love so?  The answer will be, Ever since I began to love her.  But did you not fear it before?  No, nor should I fear it now, but that I vehemently love her.  Come, sinner, let us apply it: How long is it since thou began to fear that Jesus Christ will not receive thee?  Thy answer is, Ever since I began to desire that he would save my soul.  I began to fear, when I began to come; and the more my heart burns in desires after him, the more I feel my heart fear I shall not be saved by him.  See now, did not I tell thee that thy fears were but the consequence of strong desires?  Well, fear not, coming sinner, thousands of coming souls are in thy condition, and yet they will get safe into Christ’s bosom: “Say,”  says Christ, “to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; your God will come and save you”  (Isa 35:4; 63:1).

Third, Thy fear that Christ will not receive thee may arise from a sense of thine own unworthiness.  Thou seest what a poor, sorry, wretched, worthless creature thou art; and seeing this, thou fearest Christ will not receive thee.  Alas, sayest thou, I am the vilest of all men; a town-sinner, a ringleading sinner!  I am not only a sinner myself, but have made others twofold worse the children of hell also.  Besides, now I am under some awakenings and stirrings of mind after salvation, even now I find my heart rebellious, carnal, hard, treacherous, desperate, prone to unbelief, to despair: it forgetteth the Word; it wandereth; it runneth to the ends of the earth.  There is not, I am persuaded, one in all the world that hath such a desperate wicked heart as mine is; my soul is careless to do good, but none more earnest to do that which is evil.

Can such a one as I am, live in glory?  Can a holy, a just, and a righteous God, once think (with honour to his name) of saving such a vile creature as I am?  I fear it.  Will he show wonders to such a dead dog as I am?  I doubt it.  I am cast out to the loathing of my person, yea, I loath myself; I stink in mine own nostrils.  How can I then be accepted by a holy and sin-abhorring God?  (Psa 38:5–7; Eze 11; 20:42, 44).  Saved I would be; and who is there that would not, were they in my condition?  Indeed, I wonder at the madness and folly of others, when I see them leap and skip so carelessly about the mouth of hell!  Bold sinner, how darest thou tempt God, by laughing at the breach of his holy law?  But alas!  they are not so bad one way, but I am worse another: I wish myself were anybody but myself; and yet here again, I know not what to wish.  When I see such as I believe are coming to Jesus Christ, O I bless them!  But I am confounded in myself, to see how unlike, as I think, I am to every good man in the world.  They can read, hear, pray, remember, repent, be humble, do everything better than so vile a wretch as I.  I, vile wretch, am good for nothing but to burn in hell-fire, and when I think of that, I am confounded too!

Thus the sense of unworthiness creates and heightens fears in the hearts of them that are coming to Jesus Christ; but indeed it should not; for who needs the physician but the sick?  or who did Christ come into the world to save, but the chief of sinners?  (Mark 2:17; 1 Tim 1:15).  Wherefore, the more thou seest thy sins, the faster fly thou to Jesus Christ.  And let the sense of thine own unworthiness prevail with thee yet to go faster.  As it is with the man that carrieth his broken arm in a sling to the bone-setter, still as he thinks of his broken arm, and as he feels the pain and anguish, he hastens his pace to the man.  And if Satan meets thee, and asketh, Whither goest thou?  tell him thou art maimed, and art going to the Lord Jesus.  If he objects thine own unworthiness, tell him, That even as the sick seeketh the physician; as he that hath broken bones seeks him that can set them; so thou art going to Jesus Christ for cure and healing for thy sin sick soul.  But it ofttimes happeneth to him that flies for his life, he despairs of escaping, and therefore delivers himself up into the hand of the pursuer.  But up, up, sinner; be of good cheer, Christ came to save the unworthy ones: be not faithless, but believe.  Come away, man, the Lord Jesus calls thee, saying, “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Fourth.  Thy fear that Christ will not receive thee, may arise from a sense of the exceeding mercy of being saved; sometimes salvation is in the eyes of him that desires so great, so huge, so wonderful a thing, that the very thoughts of the excellency of it, engenders unbelief about obtaining it, in the heart of those that unfeignedly desire it.  “Seemeth it to you,”  saith David, “a light thing to be a king’s son-in-law?”  (1 Sam 18:23).  So the thoughts of the greatness and glory of the thing propounded, as heaven, eternal life, eternal glory, to be with God, and Christ, and angels; these are great things, things too good, saith the soul that is little in his own eyes; things too rich, saith the soul that is truly poor in spirit, for me.

Besides, the Holy Ghost hath a way to greaten heavenly things to the understanding of the coming sinner; yea, and at the same time to greaten, too, the sin and unworthiness of that sinner.  Now the soul staggeringly wonders, saying, What!  to be made like angels, like Christ, to live in eternal bliss, joy, and felicity!  This is for angels, and for them that can walk like angels!  If a prince, a duke, an earl, should send (by the hand of his servant) for some poor, sorry, beggarly scrub, to take her for his master to wife, and the servant should come and say, My lord and master, such an one hath sent me to thee, to take thee to him to wife; he is rich, beautiful, and of excellent qualities; he is loving, meek, humble, well-spoken, &c.  What now would this poor, sorry, beggarly creature think?  What would she say?  or how would she frame an answer?  When king David sent to Abigail upon this account, and though she was a rich woman, yet she said, “Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord”  (1 Sam 25:40, 41).  She was confounded, she could not well tell what to say, the offer was so great, beyond what could in reason be expected.

But suppose this great person should second his suit, and send to this sorry creature again, what would she say now?  Would she not say, You mock me?  But what if he affirms that he is in good earnest, and that his lord must have her to wife; yea, suppose he should prevail upon her to credit his message, and to address herself for her journey; yet, behold every thought of her pedigree confounds her; also her sense of want of beauty makes her ashamed; and if she doth but think of being embraced, the unbelief that is mixed with that thought whirls her into tremblings; and now she calls herself fool, for believing the messenger, and thinks not to go; if she thinks of being bold, she blushes; and the least thought that she shall be rejected, when she comes at him, makes her look as if she would give up the ghost.

And is it a wonder, then, to see a soul that is drowned in the sense of glory and a sense of its own nothingness, to be confounded in itself, and to fear that the glory apprehended is too great, too good, and too rich, for such an one?  That thing, heaven and eternal glory, is so great, and I that would have it, so small, so sorry a creature, that the thoughts of obtaining it confounds me.

Thus, I say, doth the greatness of the things desired, quite dash and overthrow the mind of the desirer.  O, it is too big!  it is too big!  it is too great a mercy!  But, coming sinner, let me reason with thee.  Thou sayest, it is too big, too great.  Well, will things that are less satisfy thy soul?  Will a less thing than heaven, than glory and eternal life, answer thy desires?  No, nothing less; and yet I fear they are too big, and too good for me, ever to obtain.  Well, as big and as good as they are, God giveth them to such as thou; they are not too big for God to give; no, not too big to give freely.  Be content; let God give like himself; he is that eternal God, and giveth like himself.  When kings give, they do not use to give as poor men do.  Hence it is said, that Nabal made a feast in his house like the feast of a king; and again, “All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto David”  (1 Sam 25:36; 2 Sam 24:23).  Now, God is a great king, let him give like a king; nay, let him give like himself, and do thou receive like thyself.  He hath all, and thou hast nothing.  God told his people of old, that he would save them in truth and in righteousness, and that they should return to, and enjoy the land, which before, for their sins, had spewed them out; and then adds, under a supposition of their counting the mercy too good, or too big, “If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes?  saith the Lord of hosts”  (Zech 8:6).

As who should say, they are now in captivity, and little in their own eyes; therefore they think the mercy of returning to Canaan is a mercy too marvellously big for them to enjoy; but if it be so in their eyes, it is not so in mine; I will do for them like God, if they will but receive my bounty like sinners.  Coming sinner, God can give his heavenly Canaan, and the glory of it, unto thee; yea, none ever had them but as a gift, a free gift.  He hath given us his Son, “How shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”  (Rom 8:32).

It was not the worthiness of Abraham, or Moses, or David or Peter, or Paul, but the mercy of God, that made them inheritors of heaven.  If God thinks thee worthy, judge not thyself unworthy; but take it, and be thankful.  And it is a good sign he intends to give thee, if he hath drawn out thy heart to ask.  “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble; thou wilt prepare their heart; thou wilt cause thine ear to hear”  (Psa 10:17).

When God is said to incline his ear, it implies an intention to bestow the mercy desired.  Take it therefore; thy wisdom will be to receive, not sticking at thy own unworthiness.  It is said, “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory.”  Again, “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill, that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people”  (1 Sam 2:8; Psa 113:7, 8).  You see also when God made a wedding for his Son, he called not the great, nor the rich, nor the mighty; but the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind (Matt 12; Luke 14).

Fifth.  Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may arise from the hideous roaring of the devil, who pursues thee.  He that hears him roar, must be a mighty Christian, if he can at that time deliver himself from fear.  He is called a roaring lion; and then to allude to that in Isaiah, “If one look”  into them, they have “darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof”  (1 Peter 5:8; Isa 5:3).

[Two of the devil’s objections.]—There are two things among many that Satan useth to roar out after them that are coming to Jesus Christ.  1.  That they are not elected.  Or, 2.  That they have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost.  To both these I answer briefly—

1.  [Election.]—Touching election, out of which thou fearest thou art excluded.  Why, coming sinner, even the text itself affordeth thee help against this doubt, and that by a double argument.

(1.) That coming to Christ is by virtue of the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father; but thou art a-coming; therefore God hath given thee, promised thee, and is drawing thee to Jesus Christ.  Coming sinner, hold to this; and when Satan beginneth to roar again, answer, But I feel my heart moving after Jesus Christ; but that would not be, if it were not given by promise, and drawing to Christ by the power of the Father.

(2.) Jesus Christ hath promised, “That him that cometh to him he will in no wise cast out.”  And if he hath said it, will he not make it good, I mean even thy salvation?  For, as I have said already, not to cast out, is to receive and admit to the benefit of salvation.  If then the Father hath given thee, as is manifest by thy coming; and if Christ will receive thee, thou coming soul, as it is plain he will, because he hath said, “He will in no wise cast out;”  then be confident, and let those conclusions, that as naturally flow from the text as light from the sun, or water from the fountain, stay thee.

If Satan therefore objecteth, But thou art not elected; answer, But I am coming, Satan, I am coming; and that I could not be, but that the Father draws me; and I am coming to such a Lord Jesus, as will in no wise cast me out.  Further, Satan, were I not elect, the Father would not draw me, nor would the Son so graciously open his bosom to me.  I am persuaded, that not one of the nonelect shall ever be able to say, no, not in the day of judgment, I did sincerely come to Jesus Christ.  Come they may, feignedly, as Judas and Simon Magus did; but that is not our question.  Therefore, O thou honest-hearted coming sinner, be not afraid, but come.

2.  [Of the sin against the Holy Ghost.]—As to the second part of the objection, about sinning the sin against the Holy Ghost, the same argument overthrows that also.  But I will argue thus:

(1.) Coming to Christ is by virtue of a special gift of the Father; but the Father giveth no such gift to them that have sinned that sin; therefore thou that art coming hast not committed that sin.  That the Father giveth no such gift to them that have sinned that sin is evident—(a.) Because such have sinned themselves out of God’s favour; “They shall never have forgiveness”  (Matt 12:32).  But it is a special favour of God to give unto a man, to come to Jesus Christ; because thereby he obtaineth forgiveness.  Therefore he that cometh hath not sinned that sin.  (b.) They that have sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost, have sinned themselves out of an interest in the sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood; “There remaineth [for such] no more sacrifice for sins”  (Heb 10:26).  But God giveth not grace to any of them to come to Christ, that have no share in the sacrifice of his body and blood.  Therefore, thou that art coming to him, hast not sinned that sin.

(2.) Coming to Christ is by the special drawing of the Father; “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him”  (John 6:44).  But the Father draweth not him to Christ, for whom he hath not allotted forgiveness by his blood; therefore they that are coming to Jesus Christ have not committed that sin, because he hath allotted them forgiveness by his blood.  That the Father cannot draw them to Jesus Christ, for whom he hath not allotted forgiveness of sins, is manifest to sense: for that would be a plain mockery, a flam, neither becoming his wisdom, justice, holiness, nor goodness.

(3.) Coming to Jesus Christ lays a man under the promise of forgiveness and salvation.  But it is impossible that he that hath sinned that sin should ever be put under a promise of these.  Therefore, he that hath sinned that sin can never have heart to come to Jesus Christ.

(4.) Coming to Jesus Christ lays a man under his intercession.  “For he ever liveth to make intercession for them that come”  (Heb 7:25).  Therefore, he that is coming to Jesus Christ cannot have sinned that sin.  Christ has forbidden his people to pray for them that have sinned that sin; and, therefore, will not pray for them himself, but he prays for them that come.

(5.) He that hath sinned that sin, Christ is to him of no more worth than is a man that is dead; “For he hath crucified to himself the Son of God;”  yea, and hath also counted his precious blood as the blood of an unholy thing.  (Heb 6; 10) Now, he that hath this low esteem of Christ will never come to him for life; but the coming man has an high esteem of his person, blood, and merits.  Therefore, he that is coming has not committed that sin.

(6.) If he that has sinned this sin might yet come to Jesus Christ, then must the truth of God be overthrown; which saith in one place, “He hath never forgiveness;”  and in another, “I will in no wise cast him out.”  Therefore, that he may never have forgiveness, he shall never have heart to come to Jesus Christ.  It is impossible that such an one should be renewed, either to or by repentance (Heb 6).  Wherefore, never trouble thy head nor heart about this matter; he that cometh to Jesus Christ cannot have sinned against the Holy Ghost.

Sixth, Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may arise from thine own folly, in inventing, yea, in thy chalking out to God, a way to bring thee home to Jesus Christ.  Some souls that are coming to Jesus Christ are great tormentors of themselves upon this account; they conclude, that if their coming to Jesus Christ is right, they must needs be brought home thus and thus.

As to instance: 1.  Says one, If God be bringing of me to Jesus Christ, then will he load me with the guilt of sin till he makes me roar again.  2.  If God be indeed a-bringing me home to Jesus Christ, then must I be assaulted with dreadful temptations of the devil.  3.  If God be indeed a-bringing me to Jesus Christ, then, even when I come at him, I shall have wonderful revelations of him.

This is the way that some sinners appoint for God; but, perhaps, he will not walk therein; yet will he bring them to Jesus Christ.  But now, because they come not the way of their own chalking out, therefore they are at a loss.  They look for heavy load and burden; but, perhaps, God gives them a sight of their lost condition, and addeth not that heavy weight and burden.  They look for fearful temptations of Satan; but God sees that yet they are not fit for them, nor is the time come that he should be honoured by them in such a condition.  They look for great and glorious revelations of Christ, grace, and mercy; but, perhaps, God only takes the yoke from off their jaws, and lays meat before them.  And now again they are at a loss, yet a-coming to Jesus Christ; “I drew them,”  saith God, “with cords of a man, with bands of love—I took the yoke from off their jaws, and laid meat unto them”  (Hosea 11:4).

Now, I say, If God brings thee to Christ, and not by the way that thou hast appointed, then thou art at a loss; and for thy being at a loss, thou mayest thank thyself.  God hath more ways than thou knowest of to bring a sinner to Jesus Christ; but he will not give thee beforehand an account by which of them he will bring thee to Christ (Isa 40:13; Job 33:13).  Sometimes he hath his ways in the whirlwind; but sometimes the Lord is not there (Nahum 1:3; 1 Kings 19:11).  If God will deal more gently with thee than with others of his children, grudge not at it; refuse not the waters that go softly, lest he bring upon thee the waters of the rivers, strong and many, even these two smoking firebrand, the devil and guilt of sin (Isa 8:6, 7).  He saith to Peter, “Follow me.”  And what thunder did Zaccheus hear or see?  Zaccheus, “Come down,”  said Christ; “and he came down,”  says Luke, “and received him joyfully.”

But had Peter or Zaccheus made the objection that thou hast made, and directed the Spirit of the Lord as thou hast done, they might have looked long enough before they had found themselves coming to Jesus Christ.  Besides, I will tell thee, that the greatness of sense of sin, the hideous roaring of the devil, yea, and abundance of revelations, will not prove that God is bringing thy soul to Jesus Christ; as Balaam, Cain, Judas, and others, can witness.

Further, consider that what thou hast not of these things here, thou mayest have another time, and that to thy distraction.  Wherefore, instead of being discontent, because thou art not in the fire, because thou hearest not the sound of the trumpet and alarm of war, “Pray that thou enter not into temptation;”  yea, come boldly to the throne of grace, and obtain mercy, and find grace to help in that time of need (Psa 88:15; Matt 26:41; Heb 4:16).

Poor creature!  thou criest, if I were tempted, I could come faster and with more confidence to Christ.  Thou sayest thou knowest not what.  What says Job?  “Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.  Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me”  (Job 13:21, 22).  It is not the overheavy load of sin, but the discovery of mercy; not the roaring of the devil, but the drawing of the Father, that makes a man come to Jesus Christ; I myself know all these things.

True, sometimes, yea, most an end, they that come to Jesus Christ come the way that thou desirest; the loading, tempted way; but the Lord also leads some by the waters of comfort.  If I was to choose when to go a long journey, to wit, whether I would go it in the dead of winter or in the pleasant spring, though, if it was a very profitable journey, as that of coming to Christ is, I would choose to go it through fire and water before I would choose lose the benefit.  But, I say, if I might choose the time, I would choose to go it in the pleasant spring, because the way would be more delightsome, the days longer and warmer, the nights shorter and not so cold.  And it is observable, that that very argument that thou usest to weaken thy strength in the way, that very argument Christ Jesus useth to encourage his beloved to come to him: “Rise up,”  saith he, “my love, my fair one, and come away.”  Why?  “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away”  (Song 2:10–13).

Trouble not thyself, coming sinner.  If thou seest thy lost condition by original and actual sin; if thou seest thy need of the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ; if thou art willing to be found in him, and to take up thy cross and follow him; then pray for a fair wind and good weather, and come away.  Stick no longer in a muse and doubt about things, but come away to Jesus Christ.  Do it, I say, lest thou tempt God to lay the sorrows of a travailing woman upon thee.  Thy folly in this thing may make him do it.  Mind what follows: “The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him.”  Why?  “He is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children”  (Hosea 13:13).

Seventh, Thy fears that Christ will not receive thee may arise from those decays that thou findest in thy soul, even while thou art coming to him.  Some, even as they are coming to Jesus Christ, do find themselves grow worse and worse; and this is indeed a sore trial to the poor coming sinner.

Fears that we do not run fast enough

To explain myself.  There is such an one a coming to Jesus Christ who, when at first he began to look out after him, was sensible, affectionate, and broken in spirit; but now is grown dark, senseless, hard-hearted, and inclining to neglect spiritual duties, &c.  Besides, he now finds in himself inclinations to unbelief, atheism, blasphemy, and the like; now he finds he cannot tremble at God’s Word, his judgment, nor at the apprehension of hell fire; neither can he, as he thinketh, be sorry for these things.  Now, this is a sad dispensation.  The man under the sixth head complaineth for want of temptations, but thou hast enough of them; art thou glad of them, tempted, coming sinner?  They that never were exercised with them may think it a fine thing to be within the range, but he that is there is ready to sweat blood for sorrow of heart, and to howl for vexation of spirit!  This man is in the wilderness among wild beasts.  Here he sees a bear, there a lion, yonder a leopard, a wolf, a dragon; devils of all sorts, doubts of all sorts, fears of all sorts, haunt and molest his soul.  Here he sees smoke, yea, feels fire and brimstone, scattered upon his secret places.  He hears the sound of an horrible tempest.  O!  my friends, even the Lord Jesus, that knew all things, even he saw no pleasure in temptations, nor did he desire to be with them; wherefore, one text saith, “he was led,”  and another, “he was driven,”  of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil (Matt 4:1; Mark 1:12).

But to return.  Thus it happeneth sometimes to them that are coming to Jesus Christ.  A sad hap indeed!  One would think that he that is flying from wrath to come has little need of such clogs as these.  And yet so it is, and woeful experience proves it.  The church of old complained that her enemies overtook her between the straits; just between hope and fear, heaven and hell (Lam 1).

This man feeleth the infirmity of his flesh, he findeth a proneness in himself to be desperate.  Now, he chides with God, flings and tumbles like a wild bull in a net, and still the guilt of all returns upon himself, to the crushing of him to pieces.  Yet he feeleth his heart so hard, that he can find, as he thinks, no kind falling under any of his miscarriages.  Now, he is a lump of confusion in his own eyes, whose spirit and actions are without order.

Temptations serve the Christian as the shepherd’s dog serveth the silly sheep; that is, coming behind the flock, he runs upon it, pulls it down, worries it, wounds it, and grievously bedabbleth it with dirt and wet, in the lowest places of the furrows of the field, and not leaving it until it is half dead, nor then neither, except God rebuke.

Here is now room for fears of being cast away.  Now I see I am lost, says the sinner.  This is not coming to Jesus Christ, says the sinner; such a desperate, hard, and wretched heart as mine is, cannot be a gracious one, saith the sinner.  And bid such an one be better, he says, I cannot; no, I cannot.

Why temptations assail God’s people

Question.  But what will you say to a soul in this condition?

Answer.  I will say, That temptations have attended the best of God’s people.  I will say, That temptations come to do us good; and I will say also, That there is a difference betwixt growing worse and worse, and thy seeing more clearly how bad thou art.

There is a man of an ill-favored countenance, who hath too high a conceit of his beauty; and, wanting the benefit of a glass, he still stands in his own conceit; at last a limner is sent unto him, who draweth his ill-favored face to the life; now looking thereon, he begins to be convinced that he is not half so handsome as he thought he was.  Coming sinner, thy temptations are these painters; they have drawn out thy ill-favored heart to the life, and have set it before thine eyes, and now thou seest how ill-favoured thou art.  Hezekiah was a good man, yet when he lay sick, for aught I know, he had somewhat too good an opinion of his heart; and for aught I know also, the Lord might, upon his recovery, leave him to a temptation, that he might better know all that was in his heart.  Compare Isaiah 38:1–3, with 2 Chronicles 32:31.

Alas!  we are sinful out of measure, but see it not to be the full, until an hour of temptation comes.  But when it comes, it doth as the painter doth, draweth out our heart to the life: yet the sight of what we are should not keep us from coming to Jesus Christ.  There are two ways by which God lets a man into a sight of the naughtiness of his heart; one is, by the light of the Word and Spirit of God; and the other is, by the temptations of the devil.  But, by the first, we see our naughtiness one way; and, by the second, another.  By the light of the Word and Spirit of God, thou hast a sight of thy naughtiness; and by the light of the sun, thou hast a sight of the spots and defilements that are in thy house or raiment.  Which light gives thee to see a necessity of cleansing, but maketh not the blemishes to spread more abominably.  But when Satan comes, when he tempts, he puts life and rage into our sins, and turns them, as it were, into so many devils within us.  Now, like prisoners, they attempt to break through the prison of our body; they will attempt to get out at our eyes, mouth, ears, any ways, to the scandal of the gospel, and reproach of religion, to the darkening of our evidences, and damning of our souls.

But I shall say, as I said before, this hath ofttimes been the lot of God’s people.  And, “There hath no temptation overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able”  (1 Cor 10:13).  See the Book of Job, the Book of Psalms, and that of the Lamentations.  And remember further, that Christ himself was tempted to blaspheme, to worship the devil, and to murder himself, (Matt 4; Luke 4); temptations worse than which thou canst hardly be overtaken with.  But he was sinless, that is true.  And he is thy Saviour, and that is as true!  Yea, it is as true also, that by his being tempted, he became the conqueror of the tempter, and a succourer of those that are tempted (Col 2:14, 15; Heb 2:15; 4:15, 16).

Question.  But what should be the reason that some that are coming to Christ should be so lamentably cast down and buffeted with temptations?

Answer.  It may be for several causes.

1.  Some that are coming to Christ cannot be persuaded, until the temptation comes, that they are so vile as the Scripture saith they are.  True, they see so much of their wretchedness as to drive them to Christ.  But there is an over and above of wickedness which they see not.  Peter little thought that he had had cursing, and swearing, and lying, and an inclination in his heart to deny his Master, before the temptation came; but when that indeed came upon him, then he found it there to his sorrow (John 13:36–38; Mark 14:36–40; 68–72).

2.  Some that are coming to Jesus Christ are too much affected with their own graces, and too little taken with Christ’s person; wherefore God, to take them off from doting upon their own jewels, and that they might look more to the person, undertaking, and merits of his Son, plunges them into the ditch by temptations.  And this I take to be the meaning of Job, “If I wash myself,”  said he, “with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me”  (Job 9:30).  Job had been a little too much tampering with his own graces, and setting his excellencies a little too high; as these texts make manifest: Job 33:8–13; 34:5–10, 35:2, 3, 38:1, 2; 40:10–15, 42:3–6.  But by that the temptations were ended, you find him better taught.

Yea, God doth ofttimes, even for this thing, as it were, take our graces from us, and so leave us almost quite to ourselves and to the tempter, that we may learn not to love the picture more than the person of his Son.  See how he dealt with them in the 16th of Ezekiel, and the second of Hosea.

3.  Perhaps thou hast been given too much to judge thy brother, to condemn thy brother, because a poor tempted man.  And God, to bring down the pride of thy heart, letteth the tempter loose upon thee, that thou also mayst feel thyself weak.  For “pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”  (Prov 16:18).

4.  It may be thou hast dealt a little too roughly with those that God hath this way wounded, not considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  And therefore God hath suffered it to come unto thee (Gal 6:1).

5.  It may be thou wast given to slumber and sleep, and therefore these temptations were sent to awake thee.  You know that Peter’s temptation came upon him after his sleeping; then, instead of watching and praying, then he denied, and denied, and denied his Master (Matt 26).

6.  It may be thou hast presumed too far, and stood too much in thine own strength, and therefore is a time of temptation come upon thee.  This was also one cause why it came upon Peter—Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I.  Ah!  that is the way to be tempted indeed (John 13:36–38).

7.  It may be God intends to make thee wise, to speak a word in season to others that are afflicted; and therefore he suffereth thee to be tempted.  Christ was tempted that he might be able to succour them that are tempted (Heb 2:18).

8.  It may be Satan hath dared God to suffer him to tempt thee; promising himself, that if he will but let him do it, thou wilt curse him to his face.  Thus he obtained leave against Job; wherefore take heed, tempted soul, lest thou provest the devil’s sayings true (Job 1:11).

9.  It may be thy graces must be tried in the fire, that that rust that cleaveth to them may be taken away, and themselves proved, both before angels and devils, to be far better than of gold that perisheth; it may be also, that thy graces are to receive special praises, and honour, and glory, at the coming of the Lord Jesus to judgment, for all the exploits that thou hast acted by them against hell, and its infernal crew, in the day of thy temptation (1 Peter 1:6, 7).

10.  It may be God would have others learn by thy sighs, groans, and complaints, under temptation, to beware of those sins for the sake of which thou art at present delivered to the tormentors.

But to conclude this, put the worst to the worst—and then things will be bad enough—suppose that thou art to this day without the grace of God, yet thou art but a miserable creature, a sinner, that hath need of a blessed Saviour; and the text presents thee with one as good and kind as heart can wish; who also for thy encouragement saith, “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Application of Observation Second

To come, therefore, to a word of application.  Is it so, that they that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive them?  Then this teacheth us these things—

1.  That faith and doubting may at the same time have their residence in the same soul.  “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”  (Matt 14:31).  He saith not, O thou of no faith!  but, O thou of little faith!  because he had a little faith in the midst of his many doubts.  The same is true even of many that are coming to Jesus Christ.  They come, and fear they come not, and doubt they come not.  When they look upon the promise, or a word of encouragement by faith, then they come; but when they look upon themselves, or the difficulties that lie before them, then they doubt.  “Bid me come,”  said Peter; “Come,”  said Christ.  So he went down out of the ship to go to Jesus, but his hap was to go to him upon the water; there was the trial.  So it is with the poor desiring soul.  Bid me come, says the sinner; Come, says Christ, and I will in no wise cast thee out.  So he comes, but his hap is to come upon the water, upon drowning difficulties; if, therefore, the wind of temptations blow, the waves of doubts and fears will presently arise, and this coming sinner will begin to sink, if he has but little faith.  But you shall find here in Peter’s little faith, a twofold act; to wit, coming and crying.  Little faith cannot come all the way without crying.  So long as its holy boldness lasts, so long it can come with peace; but when it is so, it can come no further, it will go the rest of the way with crying.  Peter went as far as his little faith would carry him: he also cried as far as his little faith would help, “Lord, save me, I perish!”  And so with coming and crying he was kept from sinking, though he had but a little faith.  “Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

2.  Is it so, that they that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive them?  Then this shows us a reason of that dejection, and those castings down, that very often we perceive to be in them that are coming to Jesus Christ.  Why, it is because they are afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive them.  The poor world they mock us, because we are a dejected people; I mean, because we are sometimes so: but they do not know the cause of our dejection.  Could we be persuaded, even then, when we are dejected, that Jesus Christ would indeed receive us, it would make us fly over their heads, and would put more gladness into our hearts than in the time in which their corn, wine, and oil increases (Psa 4:6, 7).  But,

3.  It is so, That they that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily afraid that he will not receive them.  Then this shows that they that are coming to Jesus Christ are an awakened, sensible, considering people.  For fear cometh from sense, and consideration of things.  They are sensible of sin, sensible of the curse due thereto; they are also sensible of the glorious majesty of God, and of what a blessed, blessed thing it is to be received of Jesus Christ.  The glory of heaven, and the evil of sin, these things they consider, and are sensible of.  “When I remember, I am afraid.”  “When I consider, I am afraid”  (Job 21:6; 23:15).

These things dash their spirits, being awake and sensible.  Were they dead, like other men, they would not be afflicted with fear as they are.  For dead men fear not, feel not, care not, but the living and sensible man, he it is that is ofttimes heartily afraid that Jesus Christ will not receive him.  I say, the dead and senseless are not distressed.  They presume; they are groundlessly confident.  Who so bold as blind Bayard?  These indeed should fear and be afraid, because they are not coming to Jesus Christ.  O!  the hell, the fire, the pit, the wrath of God, and torment of hell, that are prepared for poor neglecting sinners!  “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”  (Heb 3:3).  But they want sense of things, and so cannot fear.

4.  Is it so, that they that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily afraid that he will not receive them?  Then this should teach old Christians to pity and pray for young comers.  You know the heart of a stranger; for you yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt.  You know the fears, and doubts, and terrors, that take hold of them; for that they sometimes took hold of you.  Wherefore pity them, pray for them, encourage them; they need all this: guilt hath overtaken them, fears of the wrath of God hath overtaken them.  Perhaps they are within the sight of hell-fire; and the fear of going thither is burning hot within their hearts.  You may know, how strangely Satan is suggesting his devilish doubts unto them, if possible he may sink and drown them with the multitude and weight of them.  Old Christians, mend up the path for them, take the stumblingblocks out of the way; lest that which is feeble and weak be turned aside, but let it rather be healed (Heb 12).

Bunyan, J.   (2006).    Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol.   1, pp.   271–273).    Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.    (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 18

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 18

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 18

Second, The Text Treated by Way of Observation

Thus have I in brief passed through this text by way of explications.  My next work is to speak to it by way of observation.  But I shall be also as brief in that as the nature of the thing will admit.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

And now I come to some observations, and a little briefly to speak to them, and then conclude the whole.  The words thus explained afford us many, some of which are these.  1.  That God the Father, and Christ his Son, are two distinct persons in the Godhead.  2.  That by them, not excluding the Holy Ghost, is contrived and determined the salvation of fallen mankind.  3.  That this contrivance resolved itself into a covenant between these persons in the Godhead, which standeth in giving on the Father’s part, and receiving on the Son’s.  “All that the Father giveth me,” &c.  4.  That every one that the Father hath given to Christ, according to the mind of God in the text, shall certainly come to him.  5.  That coming to Jesus Christ is therefore not by the will, wisdom, or power of man; but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come.” 6.  That Jesus Christ will be careful to receive, and will not in any wise reject those that come, or are coming to him.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” There are, besides these, some other truths implied in the words.  As, 7.  They that are coming to Jesus Christ are ofttimes heartily afraid that he will not receive them.  8.  Jesus Christ would not have them that in truth are coming to him once think that he will cast them out.

These observations lie all of them in the words, and are plentifully confirmed by the Scriptures of truth; but I shall not at this time speak to them all, but shall pass by the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth, partly because I design brevity, and partly because they are touched upon in the explicatory part of the text.  I shall therefore begin with the fifth observation, and so make that the first in order, in the following discourse.

COMING TO CHRIST NOT BY THE POWER OF MAN, BUT BY THE DRAWING OF THE FATHER

OBSERVATION FIRST.  First, then, coming to Christ is not by the will, wisdom, or power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.  This observation standeth of two parts.  First, The coming to Christ is not by the will, wisdom, or power of man; Second, But by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.

That the text carrieth this truth in its bosom, you will find if you look into the explication of the first part thereof before.  I shall, therefore, here follow the method propounded, viz: show,

First, That coming to Christ is not by the will, wisdom, or power of man.  This is true, because the Word doth positively say it is not.

1.  It denieth it wholly to be by the will of man.  “Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man” (John 1:13).  And again, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth” (Rom 9:16).

2.  It denieth it to be of the wisdom of man, as is manifest from these considerations:

(1.) In the wisdom of God it pleased him, that the world by wisdom should not know him.  Now, if by their wisdom they cannot know him, it follows, by that wisdom, they cannot come unto him; for coming to him is not before, but after some knowledge of him (1 Cor 1:21; Acts 13:27; Psa 9:10).

(2.) The wisdom of man, in God’s account, as to the knowledge of Christ, is reckoned foolishness.  “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor 1:20).  And again, The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (2:14).  If God hath made foolish the wisdom of this world; and again, if the wisdom of this world is foolishness with him, then verily it is not likely, that by that a sinner should become so prudent as to come to Jesus Christ, especially if you consider,

(3.) That the doctrine of a crucified Christ, and so of salvation by him, is the very thing that is counted foolishness to the wisdom of the world.  Now, if the very doctrine of a crucified Christ be counted foolishness by the wisdom of this world, it cannot be that, by that wisdom, a man should be drawn out in his soul to come to him (1 Cor 3:19; 1:18, 23).

(4.) God counted the wisdom of this world one of his greatest enemies; therefore, by that wisdom no man can come to Jesus Christ.  For it is not likely that one of God’s greatest enemies should draw a man to that which best of all pleaseth God, as coming to Christ doth.  Now, that God counteth the wisdom of this world one of his greatest enemies, is evident, (a.) For that it casteth the greatest contempt upon his Son’s undertakings, as afore is proved, in that it counts his crucifixion foolishness; though that be one of the highest demonstrations of Divine wisdom (Eph 1:7, 8).  (b.) Because God hath threatened to destroy it, and bring it to nought, and cause it to perish; which surely he would not do, was it not an enemy, would it direct men to, and cause them to close with Jesus Christ (Isa 29:14; 1 Cor 1:19).  (c.) He hath rejected it from helping in the ministry of his Word, as a fruitless business, and a thing that comes to nought (1 Cor 2:4, 6, 12, 13).  (d.) Because it causeth to perish, those that seek it, and pursue it (1 Cor 1:18, 19).  (e.) And God has proclaimed, that if any man will be wise in this world, he must be a fool in the wisdom of this world, and that is the way to be wise in the wisdom of God.  “If any man seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor 3:18–20).

3.  Coming to Christ is not by the power of man.  This is evident partly,

(1.) From that which goeth before.  For man’s power in the putting forth of it, in this matter, is either stirred up by love, or sense of necessity; but the wisdom of this world neither gives man love to, or sense of a need of, Jesus Christ; therefore, his power lieth still, as from that.

(2.) What power has he that is dead, as every natural man spiritually is, even dead in trespasses and sins? Dead, even as dead to God’s New Testament things as he that is in his grave is dead to the things of this world.  What power hath he, then, whereby to come to Jesus Christ? (John 5:25; Eph 2:1; Col 2:13).

(3.) God forbids the mighty man’s glorying in his strength; and says positively, “By strength shall no man prevail;” and again, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord” (Jer 9:23, 24; 1 Sam 2:9; Zech 4:6; 1 Cor 1:27–31).

(4.) Paul acknowledgeth that man, nay, converted man, of himself, hath not a sufficiency of power in himself to think a good thought; if not to do that which is least, for to think is less than to come; then no man, by his own power, can come to Jesus Christ (2 Cor 2:5).

(5.) Hence we are said to be made willing to come, by the power of God; to be raised from a state of sin to a state of grace, by the power of God; and to believe, that is to come, through the exceeding working of his mighty power (Psa 110:3; Col 2:12; Eph 1:18, 20; Job 23:14).  But this needed not, if either man had power or will to come; or so much as graciously to think of being willing to come, of themselves, to Jesus Christ.

Second, I should now come to the proof of the second part of the observation [namely, the coming to Christ is by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father], but that is occasionally done already, in the explicatory part of the text, to which I refer the reader; for I shall here only give thee a text or two more to the same purpose, and so come to the use and application.

1.  It is expressly said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).  By this text, there is not only insinuated that in man is want of power, but also of will, to come to Jesus Christ: they must be drawn; they come not if they be not drawn.  And observe, it is not man, no, nor all the angels in heaven, that can draw one sinner to Jesus Christ.  No man cometh to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

2.  Again, “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:65).  It is an heavenly gift that maketh man come to Jesus Christ.

3.  Again, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.  Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45).

I shall not enlarge, but shall make some use and application, and so come to the next observation.

Use and Application of Observation First

Use First.  Is it so? Is coming to Jesus Christ not by the will, wisdom, or power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then they are to blame that cry up the will, wisdom, and power of man, as things sufficient to bring men to Christ.

There are some men who think they may not be contradicted, when they plead for the will, wisdom, and power of man in reference to the things that are of the kingdom of Christ; but I will say to such a man, he never yet came to understand, that himself is what the Scripture teacheth concerning him; neither did he ever know what coming to Christ is, by the teaching, gift, and drawing of the Father.  He is such a one that hath set up God’s enemy in opposition to him, and that continueth in such acts of defiance; and what his end, without a new birth, will be, the Scripture teacheth also; but we will pass this.

Use Second.  Is it so? Is coming to Jesus Christ by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then let saints here learn to ascribe their coming to Christ to the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father.  Christian man, bless God, who hath given thee to Jesus Christ by promise; and again, bless God for that he hath drawn thee to him.  And why is it thee? Why not another? O that the glory of electing love should rest upon thy head, and that the glory of the exceeding grace of God should take hold of thy heart, and bring thee to Jesus Christ!

Use Third.  Is it so, that coming to Jesus Christ is by the Father, as aforesaid? Then this should teach us to set a high esteem upon them that indeed are coming to Jesus Christ; I say, an high esteem on them, for the sake of him by virtue of whose grace they are made to come to Jesus Christ.

We see that when men, by the help of human abilities, do arrive at the knowledge of, and bring to pass that which, when done, is a wonder to the world, how he that did it, is esteemed and commended; yea, how are his wits, parts, industry, and unweariedness in all admired, and yet the man, as to this, is but of the world, and his work the effect of natural ability; the things also attained by him end in vanity and vexation of spirit.  Further, perhaps in the pursuit of these his achievements, he sins against God, wastes his time vainly, and at long-run loses his soul by neglecting of better things; yet he is admired! But I say, if this man’s parts, labor, diligence, and the like, will bring him to such applause and esteem in the world, what esteem should we have of such an one that is by the gift, promise, and power of God, coming to Jesus Christ?

1.  This is a man with whom God is, in whom God works and walks; a man whose motion is governed and steered by the mighty hand of God, and the effectual working of his power.  Here is a man!

2.  This man, by the power of God’s might, which worketh in him, is able to cast a whole world behind him, with all the lusts and pleasures of it, and to charge through all the difficulties that men and devils can set against him.  Here is a man.

3.  This man is travelling to Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, and to an innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, to God the Judge of all, and to Jesus.  Here is a man!

4.  This man can look upon death with comfort, can laugh at destruction when it cometh, and longs to hear the sound of the last trump, and to see his Judge coming in the clouds of heaven.  Here is a man indeed!

Let Christians, then, esteem each other as such.  I know you do it; but do it more and more.  And that you may, consider these two or three things.  (1.) These are the Objections of Christ’s esteem (Matt 12:48, 49; 15:22–28; Luke 7:9).  (2.) These are the Objections of the esteem of angels (Dan 9:12; 11:21, 22; 12:3, 4; Heb 2:14).  (3.) These have been the Objections of the esteem of heathens, when but convinced about them (Dan 5:10, 11; Acts 5:15; 1 Cor 14:24, 25).  “Let each [of you, then,] esteem [each] other better than themselves” (Phil 2:2).

Use Fourth.  Again, Is it so, that no man comes to Jesus Christ by the will, wisdom, and power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then this shows us how horribly ignorant of this such are, who make the man that is coming to Christ the Objection of their contempt and rage.  These are also unreasonable and wicked men; men in whom is no faith (2 Thess 3:2).  Sinners, did you but know what a blessed thing it is to come to Jesus Christ, and that by the help and drawing of the Father, they do indeed come to him; you would hang and burn in hell a thousand years, before you would turn your spirits as you do, against him that God is drawing to Jesus Christ, and also against the God that draws him.

But, faithless sinner, let us a little expostulate the matter.  What hath this man done against thee, that is coming to Jesus Christ? Why dost thou make him the Objection of thy scorn? doth his coming to Jesus Christ offend thee? doth his pursuing of his own salvation offend thee? doth his forsaking of his sins and pleasures offend thee?

Poor coming man! “Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?” (Exo 8:26).

But, I say, why offended at this? Is he ever the worse for coming to Jesus Christ, or for his loving and serving of Jesus Christ? Or is he ever the more a fool, for flying from that which will drown thee in hell-fire, and for seeking eternal life? Besides, pray, Sirs, consider it; this he doth, not of himself, but by the drawing of the Father.  Come, let me tell thee in thine ear, thou that wilt not come to him thyself, and him that would, thou hinderest—

1.  Thou shalt be judged for one that hath hated, maligned, and reproached Jesus Christ, to whom this poor sinner is coming.

2.  Thou shalt be judged, too, for one that hath hated the Father, by whose powerful drawing this sinner doth come.

3.  Thou shalt be taken and judged for one that has done despite to the Spirit of grace in him that is, by its help, coming to Jesus Christ.  What sayest thou now? Wilt thou stand by thy doings? Wilt thou continue to contemn and reproach the living God?  Thinkest thou that thou shalt weather it out well enough at the day of judgment? “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee,” saith the Lord? (Eze 22:14, John 15:18–25; Jude 15; 1 Thess 4:8).

Use Fifth.  Is it so, that no man comes to Jesus Christ by the will, wisdom, and power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father? Then this showeth us how it comes to pass, that weak means are so powerful as to bring men out of their sins to a hearty pursuit after Jesus Christ.  When God bid Moses speak to the people, he said, “I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee” (Exo 18:19).  When God speaks, when God works, who can let it?  None, none; then the work goes on! Elias threw his mantle upon the shoulders of Elisha; and what a wonderful work followed! When Jesus fell in with the crowing of a cock, what work was there!  O when God is in the means, then shall that means—be it never so weak and contemptible in itself—work wonders (1 Kings 19:19; Matt 26:74, 75; Mark 14:71, 72; Luke 22:60–62).  The world understood not, nor believed, that the walls of Jericho should fall at the sound of rams’ horns; but when God will work, the means must be effectual.  A word weakly spoken, spoken with difficulty, in temptation, and in the midst of great contempt and scorn, works wonders, if the Lord thy God will say so too.

Use Sixth.  Is it so? Doth no man come to Jesus Christ by the will, wisdom, and power of man, but by the gift, promise, and drawing of the Father?  Then here is room for Christians to stand and wonder at the effectual working of God’s providences, that he hath made use of, as means to bring them to Jesus Christ.

For although men are drawn to Christ by the power of the Father, yet that power putteth forth itself in the use of means: and these means are divers, sometimes this, sometimes that; for God is at liberty to work by which, and when, and how he will; but let the means be what they will, and as contemptible as may be, yet God that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, and that out of weakness can make strong, can, nay, doth oftentimes make use of very unlikely means to bring about the conversion and salvation of his people.  Therefore, you that are come to Christ—and that by unlikely means—stay yourselves, and wonder, and, wondering, magnify almighty power, by the work of which the means hath been made effectual to bring you to Jesus Christ.

What was the providence that God made use of as a means, either more remote or more near, to bring thee to Jesus Christ? Was it the removing of thy habitation, the change of thy condition, the loss of relations, estate, or the like? Was it thy casting of thine eye upon some good book, thy hearing of thy neighbours talk of heavenly things, the beholding of God’s judgments as executed upon others, or thine own deliverance from them, or thy being strangely cast under the ministry of some godly man? O take notice of such providence or providences! They were sent and managed by mighty power to do thee good.  God himself, I say, hath joined himself unto this chariot: yea, and so blessed it, that it failed not to accomplish the thing for which he sent it.

God blesseth not to every one his providences in this manner.  How many thousands are there in this world, that pass every day under the same providences! but God is not in them, to do that work by them as he hath done for thy poor soul, by his effectually working with them.  O that Jesus Christ should meet thee in this providence, that dispensation, or the other ordinance! This is grace indeed! At this, therefore, it will be thy wisdom to admire, and for this to bless God.

Give me leave to give you a taste of some of those providences that have been effectual, through the management of God, to bring salvation to the souls of his people.

(1.) The first shall be that of the woman of Samaria.  It must happen, that she must needs go out of the city to draw water, not before nor after, but just when Jesus Christ her Savior was come from far, and set to rest him, being weary, upon the well.  What a blessed providence was this! Even a providence managed by the almighty wisdom, and almighty power, to the conversion and salvation of this poor creature.  For by this providence was this poor creature and her Savior brought together, that that blessed work might be fulfilled upon the woman, according to the purpose before determined by the Father (John 4).

(2.) What providence was it that there should be a tree in the way for Zaccheus to climb, thereby to give Jesus opportunity to call that chief of the publicans home to himself, even before he came down therefrom (Luke 19).

(3.) Was it not also wonderful that the thief, which you read of in the gospel, should, by the providence of God, be cast into prison, to be condemned even at that session that Christ himself was to die; nay, and that it should happen, too, that they must be hanged together, that the thief might be in hearing and observing of Jesus in his last words, that he might be converted by him before his death! (Luke 23).

(4.) What a strange providence was it, and as strangely managed by God, that Onesimus, when he was run away from his master, should be taken, and, as I think, cast into that very prison where Paul lay bound for the Word of the gospel; that he might there be by him converted, and then sent home again to his master Philemon!  Behold “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Nay, I have myself known some that have been made to go to hear the Word preached against their wills; others have gone not to hear, but to see and to be seen; nay, to jeer and flout others, as also to catch and carp at things.  Some also to feed their adulterous eyes with the sight of beautiful Objections; and yet God hath made use even of these things, and even of the wicked and sinful proposals of sinners, to bring them under the grace that might save their souls.

Use Seventh.  Doth no man come to Jesus Christ but by the drawing, &c., of the Father? Then let me here caution those poor sinners, that are spectators of the change that God hath wrought in them that are coming to Jesus Christ, not to attribute this work and change to other things and causes.

There are some poor sinners in the world that plainly see a change, a mighty change, in their neighbours and relations that are coming to Jesus Christ.  But, as I said, they being ignorant, and not knowing whence it comes and whither it goes, for “so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” (John 3:8), therefore they attribute this change to others causes: as melancholy; to sitting alone; to overmuch reading; to their going to too many sermons; to too much studying and musing on what they hear.

Also they conclude, on the other side, that it is for want of merry company; for want of physic; and therefore they advise them to leave off reading, going to sermons, the company of sober people; and to be merry, to go a gossiping, to busy themselves in the things of this world, not to sit musing alone, &c.  But come, poor ignorant sinner, let me deal with thee.  It seems thou art turned counsellor for Satan: I tell thee thou knowest not what thou dost.  Take heed of spending thy judgment after this manner; thou judgest foolishly, and sayest in this, to every one that passeth by, thou art a fool.  What! count convictions for sin, mornings for sin, and repentance for sin, melancholy? This is like those that on the other side said, “These men are [drunk with] full of new wine,” &c.  Or as he that said Paul was mad (Acts 2:13, 26:24).  Poor ignorant sinner! canst thou judge no better? What! is sitting alone, pensive under God’s hand, reading the Scriptures, and hearing of sermons, &c., the way to be undone? The Lord open thine eyes, and make thee to see thine error! Thou hast set thyself against God, thou hast despised the operation of his hands, thou attemptest to murder souls.  What! canst thou give no better counsel touching those whom God hath wounded, than to send them to the ordinances of hell for help? Thou biddest them be merry and lightsome; but dost thou not know that “the heart of fools is in the house of mirth?” (Eccl 7:4).

Thou biddest them shun the hearing of thundering preachers; but is it not “better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools?” (Eccl 7:5).  Thou biddest them busy themselves in the things of this world; but dost thou not know that the Lord bids, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness?” (Matt 6:33).  Poor ignorant sinner! hear the counsel of God to such, and learn thyself to be wiser.  “Is any afflicted? let him pray.  Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13).  “Blessed is the man that heareth me” (Prov 8:32).  And hear for time to come, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).  “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39).  “Give attendance to reading” (1 Tim 4:13).  “It is better to go to the house of mourning” (Eccl 7:2, 3).

And wilt thou judge him that doth thus? Art thou almost like Elymas the sorcerer, that sought to turn the deputy from the faith? Thou seekest to pervert the right ways of the Lord.  Take heed lest some heavy judgment overtake thee (Acts 13:8–13).  What! teach men to quench convictions; take men off from a serious consideration of the evil of sin, of the terrors of the world to come, and how they shall escape the same? What! teach men to put God and his Word out of their minds, by running to merry company, by running to the world, by gossiping? &c.  This is as much as to bid them to say to God, “Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways;” or, “What is the Almighty that we should serve him? or what profit have we if we keep his ways?” Here is a devil in grain! What! bid man walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2).

Two Objections Answered

Objection.  1.  But we do not know that such are coming to Jesus Christ; truly we wonder at them, and think they are fools.

Answer.  Do you not know that they are coming to Jesus Christ? then they may be coming to him, for aught you know; and why will ye be worse than the brute, to speak evil of the things you know not? What! are ye made to be taken and destroyed? must ye utterly perish in your own corruptions? (2 Peter 2:12).  Do you not know them? Let them alone then.  If you cannot speak good of them, speak not bad.  “Refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38, 39).  But why do you wonder at a work of conviction and conversion? Know you not that this is the judgment of God upon you, “ye despisers, to behold, and wonder, and perish?” (Acts 13:40, 41).  But why wonder, and think they are fools? Is the way of the just an abomination to you? See that passage, and be ashamed, “He that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked” (Prov 29:27).  Your wondering at them argues that you are strangers to yourselves, to conviction for sin, and to hearty desires to be saved; as also to coming to Jesus Christ.

Objection.  2.  But how shall we know that such men are coming to Jesus Christ?

Answer.  Who can make them see that Christ has made blind? (John 2:8, 9).  Nevertheless, because I endeavor thy conviction, conversion, and salvation, consider: Do they cry out of sin, being burthened with it, as of an exceeding bitter thing? Do they fly from it, as from the face of a deadly serpent? Do they cry out of the insufficiency of their own righteousness, as to justification in the sight of God? Do they cry out after the Lord Jesus, to save them? Do they see more worth and merit in one drop of Christ’s blood to save them, than in all the sins of the world to damn them? Are they tender of sinning against Jesus Christ? Is his name, person, and undertakings, more precious to them, than is the glory of the world? Is this word more dear unto them? Is faith in Christ (of which they are convinced by God’s Spirit of the want of, and that without it they can never close with Christ) precious to them? Do they savour Christ in his Word, and do they leave all the world for his sake? And are they willing, God helping them, to run hazards for his name, for the love they bear to him? Are his saints precious to them? If these things be so, whether thou seest them or no, these men are coming to Jesus Christ (Rom 7:9–14; Psa 38:3–8; Heb 6:18–20; Isa 64:6; Phil 3:7, 8; Psa 54:1; 109:26; Acts 16:30; Psa 51:7, 8; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Rom 7:24; 2 Cor 5:2; Acts 5:41; James 2:7; Song 5:10–16; Psa 119; John 13:35; 1 John 4:7; 3:14; John 16:9; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6; Psa 19:10, 11; Jer 15:16; Heb 11:24–27; Acts 20:22–24; 21:13; Titus 3:15; 2 John 1; Eph 4:16; Phile 7; 1 Cor 16:24).

Bunyan, J.  (2006).   Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol.  1, pp.  271–273).   Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.   (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 17

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 17

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 17

The Power of Christ to Save, Or to Cast Out

SECOND.  And now we come to the second thing that is to be inquired into, namely, How it appears that Christ hath power to save, or to cast out.  For by these words, “I will in no wise cast out,” he declareth that he hath power to do both.  Now this inquiry admits us to search into the things:  First, How it appears that he hath power to save; Second, How it appears that he hath power to cast out.

First, That he hath power to save, appears by that which follows:—

1.  To speak only of him as he is mediator:  he was authorized to this blessed work by his Father, before the world began.  Hence the apostle saith, “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4).  With all those things that effectually will produce our salvation.  Read the same chapter, with 2 Timothy 1:9.

2.  He was promised to our first parents, that he should, in the fullness of time, bruise the serpent’s head; and, as Paul expounds it, redeem them that were under the law.  Hence, since that time, he hath been reckoned as slain for our sins.  By which means all the fathers under the first testament were secured from the wrath to come; hence he is called, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8; Gen 3:15; Gal 4:4, 5).

3.  Moses gave testimony of him by the types and shadows, and bloody sacrifices, that he commanded from the mouth of God to be in use for the support of his people’s faith, until the time of reformation; which was the time of this Jesus his death (Heb 9, 10).

4.  At the time of his birth it was testified of him by the angel, “That he should save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21).

5. It is testified of him in the days of his flesh, that he had power on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:5–12).

6.  It is testified also of him by the apostle Peter, that “God hath exalted him with his own right hand, to be a prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).

7.  In a word, this is everywhere testified of him, both in the Old Testament and the New. And good reason that he should be acknowledged and trusted in, as a Savior.

(1.)  He came down from heaven to be a Savior (John 6:38–40).

(2.)  He was anointed when on earth to be a Savior (Luke 3:22).

(3.)  He did the works of a Savior.  As, (a.)  He fulfilled the law, and became the end of it for righteousness, for them that believe in him (Rom 10:3, 4).  (b.)  He laid down his life as a Savior; he gave his life as “a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Tim 2:6).  (c.)  He hath abolished death, destroyed the devil, put away sin, got the keys of hell and death, is ascended into heaven; is there accepted of God, and bid sit at the right hand as a Savior; and that because his sacrifice for sins pleased God (2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14, 15; 10:12, 13; Eph 4:7, 8; John 16:10, 11; Acts 5:30, 31).

(4.)  God hath sent out and proclaimed him as a Savior, and tells the world that we have redemption through his blood, that he will justify us, if we believe in his blood, and that he can faithfully and justly do it.  Yea, God doth beseech us to be reconciled to him by his Son; which could not be, if he were not anointed by him to this very end, and also if his works and undertakings were not accepted of him considered as a Savior (Rom 3:24, 25; 2 Cor 5:18–21).

(5.)  God hath received already millions of souls into his paradise, because they have received this Jesus for a Savior; and is resolved to cut them off, and to cast them out of his presence, that will not take him for a Savior (Heb 12:22–26).

I intend brevity here; therefore a word to the second, and so conclude.

Second, How it appears that he hath power to cast out.  This appears also by what follows:—

1.  The Father, for the service that he hath done him as Savior, hath made him Lord of all, even Lord of quick and dead.  “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Rom 14:9).

2.  The Father hath left it with him to quicken whom he will, to wit, with saving grace, and to cast out whom he will, for their rebellion against him (John 5:21).

3.  The Father hath made him judge of quick and dead, hath committed all judgment unto the Son, and appointed that all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father (John 5:22, 23).

4.  God will judge the world by this man: the day is appointed for judgment, and he is appointed for judge.  “He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man” (Acts 17:31).  Therefore we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive for the things done in the body, according to what they have done.  If they have closed with him, heaven and salvation; if they have not, hell and damnation!  And for these reasons he must be judge:—

(1.)  Because of his humiliation, because of his Father’s word he humbled himself, and he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  This hath respect to his being judge, and his sitting in judgment upon angels and men (Phil 2:7–11; Rom 14:10, 11).

(2.)  That all men might honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.  “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father” (John 5:22, 23).

(3.)  Because of his righteous judgment, this work is fit for no creature; it is only fit for the Son of God.  For he will reward every man according to his ways (Rev 22:12).

(4.)  Because he is the Son of man.  He “hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27).

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 271–273).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 16

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 16

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 16

What It Is To Cast Out

FIRST. For the first of these, What it is to cast out. To this I will speak, First, Generally. Second, More particularly.

First, Generally

1.  To cast out, is to slight and despise, and contemn; as it is said of Saul’s shield, “it was vilely cast away,” (2 Sam 1:21), that is, slighted and contemned.  Thus it is with the sinners that come not to Jesus Christ. He slights, despises, and contemns them; that is, “casts them away.”

2.  Things cast away are reputed as menstruous cloths, and as the dirt of the street (Isa 3:24; Psa 18:42; Matt 5:13; 15:17).  And thus it shall be with the men that come not to Jesus Christ, they shall be counted as menstruous, and as the dirt in the streets.

3.  To be cast out, or off, it is to be abhorred, not to be pitied; but to be put to perpetual shame (Psa 44:9; 89:38; Amos 1:11). But,

Second, More particularly, to come to the text. The casting out here mentioned is not limited to this or the other evil: therefore it must be extended to the most extreme and utmost misery.  Or thus: He that cometh to Christ shall not want anything that may make him gospelly-happy in this world, or that which is to come; nor shall he want anything that cometh not, that may make him spiritually and eternally miserable.  But further, As it is to be generally taken [as respecteth the things that are now], so it respecteth things that shall be hereafter.

I.  For the things that are now, they are either, 1. More general: Or, 2. More particular.

1.  More general, thus:

(1.)  It is “to be cast out” of the presence and favor of God. Thus was Cain cast out: “Thou has driven,” or cast “me out this day; from thy face,” that is, from thy favor “shall I be hid.”  A dreadful complaint! But the effect of a more dreadful judgment! (Gen 4:14; Jer 23:39; 1 Chron 28:9).

(2.)  “To be cast out,” is to be cast out of God’s sight.  God will look after them no more, care for them no more; nor will he watch over them any more for good (2 Kings 17:20; Jer 7:15).  Now they that are so, are left like blind men, to wander and fall into the pit of hell.  This, therefore, is also a sad judgment! therefore here is the mercy of him that cometh to Christ.  He shall not be left to wander at uncertainties. The Lord Jesus Christ will keep him, as a shepherd doth his sheep (Psa 23).  “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

(3.)  “To be cast out,” is to be denied a place in God’s house, and to be left as fugitives and vagabonds, to pass a little time away in this miserable life, and after that to go down to the dead (Gal 4:30; Gen 4:13, 14; 21:10).  Therefore here is the benefit of him that cometh to Christ, he shall not be denied a place in God’s house.  They shall not be left like vagabonds in the world.  “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  See Proverbs 14:26, Isaiah 56:3–5, Ephesians 1:19–22, 1 Corinthians 3:21–23.

(4.)  In a word, “To be cast out,” is to be rejected as are the fallen angels.  For their eternal damnation began at their being cast down from heaven to hell.  So then, not to be cast out, is to have a place, a house, and habitation there; and to have a share in the privileges of elect angels.

These words, therefore, “I will not cast out,” will prove great words one day to them that come to Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:4; John 20:31; Luke 20:35).

2.  Second, and more particularly,

(1.)  Christ hath everlasting life for him that cometh to him, and he shall never perish; “For he will in no wise cast him out;” but for the rest, they are rejected, “cast out,” and must be damned (John 10:27, 28).

(2.)  Christ hath everlasting righteousness to clothe them with that come to him, and they shall be covered with it as with a garment, but the rest shall be found in the filthy rags of their own stinking pollutions, and shall be wrapt up in them, as in a winding-sheet, and so bear their shame before the Lord, and also before the angels (Dan 9:27; Isa 57:20; Rev 3:4–18, 15, 16).

(3.)  Christ hath precious blood, that, like an open fountain, stands free for him to wash in, that comes to him for life; “And he will in no wise cast him out;” but they that come not to him are rejected from a share therein, and are left to ireful vengeance for their sins (Zech 13:1; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; John 13:8; 3:16).

(4.)  Christ hath precious promises, and they shall have a share in them that come to him for life; for “he will in no wise cast them out.”  But they that come not can have no share in them, because they are true only in him; for in him, and only in him, all the promises are yea and amen.  Wherefore they that come not to him, are no whit the better for them (Psa 50:16; 2 Cor 1:20, 21).

(5.)  Christ hath also fullness of grace in himself for them that come to him for life: “And he will in no wise cast them out.”  But those that come not unto him are left in their graceless state; and as Christ leaves them, death, hell, and judgment finds them.  “Whoso findeth me,” saith Christ, “findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death” (Prov 8:35, 36).

(6.)  Christ is an Intercessor, and ever liveth to make intercession for them that come to God by him: “But their sorrows shall be multiplied, that hasten after another,” or other gods, their sins and lusts. “Their drink-offerings will I not offer, nor take up their names into his lips” (Psa 16:4; Heb 7:25).

(7.)  Christ hath wonderful love, bowels, and compassions, for those that come to him; for “he will in no wise cast them out.”  But the rest will find him a lion rampant; he will one day tear them all to pieces.  “Now consider this,” saith he, “ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver” (Psa 50:22).

(8.)  Christ is one by and for whose sake those that come to him have their persons and performances accepted of the Father:  “And he will in no wise cast them out;” but the rest must fly to the rocks and mountains for shelter, but all in vain, to hide them from his face and wrath (Rev 6:15–17).

II.  But again, These words, CAST OUT, have a special look to what will be hereafter, even at the day of judgment.  For then, and not till then, will be the great anathema and casting out made manifest, even manifest by execution.  Therefore here to speak to this, and that under these two heads. As, First, Of the casting out itself. Second,  Of the place into which they shall be cast, that shall then be cast out.

First, The casting out itself standeth in two things.  1. In a preparatory work.  2.  In the manner of executing the act.

1.  The preparatory work standeth in these three things.

(1.)  It standeth in their separation that have not come to him, from them that have, at that day. Or thus: At the day of the great casting out, those that have not NOW come to him, shall be separated from them that have; for them that have “he will not cast out.”  “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matt 25:31, 32).  This dreadful separation, therefore, shall then be made betwixt them that NOW come to Christ, and them that come not.  And good reason; for since they would not with us come to him now they have time, why should they stand with us when judgment is come?

(2.)  They shall be placed before him according to their condition: they that have come to him, in great dignity, even at his right hand; “For he will in no wise cast them out”: but the rest shall be set at his left hand, the place of disgrace and shame; for they did not come to him for life.  Distinguished also shall they be by fit terms: these that come to him he calleth the sheep, but the rest are frowish goats, “and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats;” and the sheep will be set on the right hand—next heaven gate, for they came to him—but the goats on his left, to go from him into hell, because they are not of his sheep.

(3.)  Then will Christ proceed to conviction of those that came not to him, and will say, “I was a stranger, and ye took me not in,” or did not come unto me.  Their excuse of themselves he will slight as dirt, and proceed to their final judgment.

2.  Now when these wretched rejecters of Christ shall thus be set before him in their sins, and convicted, this is the preparatory work upon which follows the manner of executing the act which will be done.

(1.)  In the presence of all the holy angels.

(2.)  In the presence of all them that in their lifetime came to him, by saying unto them, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”: with the reason annexed to it. For you were cruel to me and mine, particularly discovered in these words, “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not” (Matt 25:41–43).

Second, Now it remains that we speak of the place into which these shall be cast, which, in the general, you have heard already, to wit, the first prepared for the devil and his angels. But, in particular, it is thus described:—

1.  It is called Tophet: “For Tophet is ordained of old, yea, for the king,” the Lucifer, “it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it” (Isa 30:32).

2.  It is called hell. “It is better for thee to enter halt” or lame “into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell” (Mark 9:45).

3.  It is called the wine-press of the wrath of God.  “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth,” that is, them that did not come to Christ, “and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God” (Rev 14:19).

4.  It is called a lake of fire.  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15).

5.  It is called a pit.  “Thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isa 14:13–15).

6.  It is called a bottomless pit, out of which the smoke and the locust came, and into which the great dragon was cast; and it is called bottomless, to show the endlessness of the fall that they will have into it, that come not, in the acceptable time, to Jesus Christ (Rev 9:1, 2; 20:3).

7.  It is called outer darkness.  “Bind him hand and foot—and cast him into outer darkness,” “and cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness,” “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 22:13; 25:30).

8.  It is called a furnace of fire.  “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  And again, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 13:40–51).

9.  Lastly, It may not be amiss, if, in the conclusion of this, I show in few words to what the things that torment them in this state are compared. Indeed, some of them have been occasionally mentioned already; as that they are compared,

(1.)  To wood that burneth.

(2.)  To fire.

(3.)  To fire and brimstone: But,

(4.)  It is compared to a worm, a gnawing worm, a never-dying gnawing worm; They are cast into hell, “where their worm dieth not” (Mark 9:44).

(5.)  It is called unquenchable fire; “He will gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt 3:12; Luke 3:17).

(6.)  It is called everlasting destruction; “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess 1:7–9).

(7.)  It is called wrath without mixture, and is given them in the cup of his indignation.  “If any man worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev 14:9, 10).

(8.)  It is called the second death.  “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power” (Rev 20:6, 14).

(9.)  It is called eternal damnation.  “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”  Oh! these three words! Everlasting punishment! Eternal damnation!  And For ever and ever!  How will they gnaw and eat up all the expectation of the end of the misery of the cast-away sinners.  “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night,” &c., (Rev 14:11).

Their behavior in hell is set forth by four things as I know of;—(a.)  By calling for help and relief in vain; (b.)  By weeping; (c.)  By wailing; (d.)  By gnashing of teeth.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 271–273).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 15

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 15

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 15

Import of the Words In No Wise

“And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.”  IN NO WISE: by these words there is [First,] Something expressed; and [Second,] Something implied.

First, That which is expressed is Christ Jesus, his unchangeable resolution to save the coming sinner; I will in no wise reject him, or deny him the benefit of my death and righteousness.  This word, therefore, is like that which he speaks of the everlasting damnation of the sinner in hell-fire; “He shall by no means depart thence;” that is, never, never come out again, no, not to all eternity (Matt 5:26; 25:46).  So that as he that is condemned into hell-fire hath no ground of hope for his deliverance thence; so him that cometh to Christ, hath no ground to fear he shall ever be cast in thither.

“Thus saith the Lord, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel, for all that they have done, saith the Lord” (Jer 31:37).  “Thus saith the Lord, If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then will I cast away the seed of Jacob” (Jer 33:25, 26).  But heaven cannot be measured, nor the foundations of the earth searched out beneath; his covenant is also with day and night, and he hath appointed the ordinances of heaven; therefore he will not cast away the seed of Jacob, who are the coming ones, but will certainly save them from the dreadful wrath to come (Jer 50:4, 5).  By this, therefore, it is manifest, that it was not the greatness of sin, nor the long continuance in it, no, nor yet the backsliding, nor the pollution of thy nature, that can put a bar in against, or be an hindrance of, the salvation of the coming sinner.  For, if indeed this could be, then would this solemn and absolute determination of the Lord Jesus, of itself, fall to the ground, and be made of none effect.  But his “counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure;” that is, his pleasure in this; for his promise, as to this irreversible conclusion, ariseth of his pleasure; he will stand to it, and will fulfil it, because it is his pleasure (Isa 46:10, 11).

Suppose that one man had the sins, or as many sins as an hundred, and another should have an hundred times as many as he; yet, if they come, this word, “I will in no wise cast out,” secures them both alike.

Suppose a man hath a desire to be saved, and for that purpose is coming in truth to Jesus Christ; but he, by his debauched life, has damned many in hell; why, the door of hope is by these words set as open for him, as it is for him that hath not the thousandth part of his transgressions.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Suppose a man is coming to Christ to be saved, and hath nothing but sin, and an ill-spent life, to bring with him; why, let him come, and welcome to Jesus Christ, “And he will in no wise cast him out” (Luke 7:42).  Is not this love that passeth knowledge? Is not this love the wonderment of angels?  And is not this love worthy of all acceptation at the hands and hearts of all coming sinners?

[Hindrances in Coming to Christ]

Second, That which is implied in the words is, 1.  The coming souls have those that continually lie at Jesus Christ to cast them off.  2.  The coming souls are afraid that those will prevail with Christ to cast them off.  For these words are spoken to satisfy us, and to stay up our spirits against these two dangers: “I will in no wise cast out.”

1.  For the first, Coming souls have those that continually lie at Jesus Christ to cast them off . And there are three things that thus bend themselves against the coming sinner.

(1.)  There is the devil, that accuser of the brethren, that accuses them before God, day and night (Rev 12:10).  This prince of darkness is unwearied in this work; he doth it, as you see, day and night; that is, without ceasing. He continually puts in his caveats against thee, if so be he may prevail.  How did he ply it against that good man Job, if possibly he might have obtained his destruction in hell-fire?  He objected against him, that he served not God for nought, and tempted God to put forth his hand against him, urging, that if he did it, he would curse him to his face; and all this, as God witnesseth, “he did without a cause” (Job 1:9–11; 2:4, 5).  How did he ply it with Christ against Joshua the high-priest?  “And he showed me Joshua,” said the prophet, “the high-priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him” (Zech 3:1).

To resist him; that is, to prevail with the Lord Jesus Christ to resist him; objecting the uncleanness and unlawful marriage of his sons with the Gentiles; for that was the crime that Satan laid against them (Ezra 10:18).  Yea, and for aught I know, Joshua was also guilty of the fact; but if not of that, of crimes no whit inferior; for he was clothed with filthy garments, as he stood before the angel.  Neither had he one word to say in vindication of himself, against all that this wicked one had to say against him.  But notwithstanding that, he came off well; but he might for it thank a good Lord Jesus, because he did not resist him, but contrariwise, took up his cause, pleaded against the devil, excusing his infirmity, and put justifying robes upon him before his adversary’s face.

“And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.  Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?  And he answered and spoke to those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him; and unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment” (Zech 3:2–4).

Again, how did Satan ply it against Peter, when he desired to have him, that he might sift him as wheat?  that is, if possible, sever all grace from his heart, and leave him nothing but flesh and filth, to the end that he might make the Lord Jesus loathe and abhor him.  “Simon, Simon,” said Christ, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.”  But did he prevail against him?  No:  “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”  As who should say, Simon, Satan hath desired me that I would give thee up to him, and not only thee, but all the rest of thy brethren—for that the word you imports—but I will not leave thee in his hand: I have prayed for thee, thy faith shall not fail; I will secure thee to the heavenly inheritance (Luke 22:30–32).

(2.)  As Satan, so every sin of the coming sinner, comes in with a voice against him, if perhaps they may prevail with Christ to cast off the soul.  When Israel was coming out of Egypt to Canaan, how many times had their sins thrown them out of the mercy of God, had not Moses, as a type of Christ, stood in the breach to turn away his wrath from them! (Psa 106:23).  Our iniquities testify against us, and would certainly prevail against us, to our utter rejection and damnation, had we not an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1, 2).

The sins of the old world cried them down to hell; the sins of Sodom fetched upon them fire from heaven, which devoured them; the sins of the Egyptians cried them down to hell, because they came not to Jesus Christ for life.  Coming sinner, thy sins are no whit less than any; nay, perhaps, they are as big as all theirs.  Why is it then, that thou livest when they are dead, and that thou hast a promise of pardon when they had not?  “Why, thou art coming to Jesus Christ;”  and therefore sin shall not be thy ruin.

(3.) As Satan and sin, so the law of Moses, as it is a perfect holy law, hath a voice against you before the face of God.  “There is one that accuseth you, even Moses,” his law (John 5:45).  Yea, it accuseth all men of transgression that have sinned against it; for as long as sin is sin, there will be a law to accuse for sin.  But this accusation shall not prevail against the coming sinner; because it is Christ that died, and that ever lives, to make intercession for them that “come to God by him” (Rom 8; Heb 7:25).

These things, I say, do accuse us before Christ Jesus; yea, and also to our own faces, if perhaps they might prevail against us.  But these words, “I will in no wise cast out,” secureth the coming sinner from them all.

The coming sinner is not saved, because there is none that comes in against him; but because the Lord Jesus will not hear their accusations, will not cast out the coming sinner.  When Shimei came down to meet king David, and to ask for pardon for his rebellion, up starts Abishai, and puts in his caveat, saying, Shall not Shimei die for this?  This is the case of him that comes to Christ.  He hath this Abishai, and that Abishai, that presently steps in against him, saying, Shall not this rebel’s sins destroy him in hell?  Read further.  But David answered, “What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me?  Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel, for do not I know, that I am king this day over Israel?”  (2 Sam 19:16–22).  That is Christ’s answer by the text, to all that accuse the coming Shimeis.  What have I to do with you, that accuse the coming sinners to me? I count you adversaries, that are against my showing mercy to them.  Do not I know that I am exalted this day to be king of righteousness, and king of peace?  “I will in no wise cast them out.”

2. But again, these words do closely imply, that the coming souls are afraid that these accusers will prevail against them, as is evident, because the text is spoken for their relief and succor.  For that need not be, if they that are coming were not subject to fear and despond upon this account. Alas, there is guilt, and the curse lies upon the conscience of the coming sinner!

Besides, he is conscious to himself what a villain, what a wretch he hath been against God and Christ. Also he now knows, by woeful experience, how he hath been at Satan’s beck, and at the motion of every lust. He hath now also new thoughts of the holiness and justice of God.  Also he feels, that he cannot forbear sinning against him.  For the motions of sins, which are by the law, doth still work in his members, to bring forth fruit unto death (Rom 7:5).  But none of this needs be [a discouragement] since we have so good, so tender-hearted, and so faithful a Jesus to come to, who will rather overthrow heaven and earth, than suffer a tittle of this text to fail.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Import of the Words TO CAST OUT

Now, we have yet to inquire into two things that lie in the words, to which there hath yet been nothing said.  As, FIRST, What it is to cast out. SECOND, How it appears that Christ hath power to save or cast out?

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 269–271).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 14

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 14

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 14

Two Sorts of Sinners Coming to Christ

“And him that COMETH.”  There are two sorts of sinners that are coming to Jesus Christ.  First, Him that hath never, while of late, at all began to come.  Second, Him that came formerly, and after that went back; but hath since bethought himself, and is now coming again.  Both these sorts of sinners are intended by the HIM in the text, as is evident; because both are now the coming sinners. “And him that cometh.”

First.  [The newly-awakened comer.]—For the first of these: the sinner that hath never, while of late, began to come, his way is more easy; I do not say, more plain and open to come to Christ than is the other—those last not having the clog of a guilty conscience, for the sin of backsliding, hanging at their heels.  But all the encouragement of the gospel, with what invitations are therein contained to coming sinners, are as free and as open to the one as to the other; so that they may with the same freedom and liberty, as from the Word, both alike claim interest in the promise.  “All things are ready;” all things for the coming backsliders, as well as for the others:  “Come to the wedding.”  “And let him that is athirst come” (Matt 22:1–4; Rev 22:17).

Second.  [The returning backslider.]—But having spoke to the first of these already, I shall here pass it by; and shall speak a word or two to him that is coming, after backsliding, to Jesus Christ for life.  Thy way, O thou sinner of a double dye, thy way is open to come to Jesus Christ.  I mean thee, whose heart, after long backsliding, doth think of turning to him again.  Thy way, I say, is open to him, as is the way of the other sorts of comers; as appears by what follows:—

1.  Because the text makes no exception against thee. It doth not say, And any him but a backslider, any him but him.  The text doth not thus object, but indefinitely openeth wide its golden arms to every coming soul, without the least exception; therefore thou mayest come.  And take heed that thou shut not that door against thy soul by unbelief, which God has opened by his grace.

2.  Nay, the text is so far from excepting against thy coming, that it strongly suggesteth that thou art one of the souls intended, O thou coming backslider; else what need that clause have been so inserted, “I will in no wise cast out?”  As who should say, Though those that come now are such as have formerly backslidden, I will in “no wise” cast away the fornicator, the covetous, the railer, the drunkard, or other common sinners, nor yet the backslider neither.

3.  That the backslider is intended is evident,

(1.)  For that he is sent to by name, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7).  But Peter was a godly man.  True, but he was also a backslider, yea, a desperate backslider:  he had denied his Master once, twice, thrice, cursing and swearing that he knew him not.  If this was not backsliding, if this was not an high and eminent backsliding, yea, a higher backsliding than thou art capable of, I have thought amiss.

Again, when David had backslidden, and had committed adultery and murder in his backsliding, he must be sent to by name:  “And,” saith the text, “the Lord sent Nathan unto David.”  And he sent him to tell him, after he had brought him to unfeigned acknowledgment, “The Lord hath also put away, or forgiven thy sin” (2 Sam 12:1, 13).

This man also was far gone: he took a man’s wife, and killed her husband, and endeavoured to cover all with wicked dissimulation.  He did this, I say, after God had exalted him, and showed him great favour; wherefore his transgression was greatened also by the prophet with mighty aggravations; yet he was accepted, and that with gladness, at the first step he took in his returning to Christ.  For the first step of the backslider’s return is to say, sensibly and unfeignedly, “I have sinned;” but he had no sooner said thus, but a pardon was produced, yea, thrust into his bosom:  “And Nathan said unto David, The Lord hath also put away thy sin.”

(2.)  As the person of the backslider is mentioned by name, so also is his sin, that, if possible, thy objections against thy returning to Christ may be taken out of thy way; I say, thy sin also is mentioned by name, and mixed, as mentioned, with words of grace and favour:  “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4).  What sayest thou now, backslider?

(3.)  Nay, further, thou art not only mentioned by name, and thy sin by the nature of it, but thou thyself, who art a returning backslider, put, (a) Amongst God’s Israel, “Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever” (Jer 3:12).  (b) Thou art put among his children; among his children to whom he is married. “Turn, O backsliding children, for I am married unto you” (verse 14).  (c) Yea, after all this, as if his heart was so full of grace for them, that he was pressed until he had uttered it before them, he adds, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings” (verse 22).

(4.)  Nay, further, the Lord hath considered, that the shame of thy sin hath stopped thy mouth, and made thee almost a prayerless man; and therefore he saith unto thee, “Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.”  See his grace, that himself should put words of encouragement into the heart of a backslider; as he saith in another place, “I taught Ephraim to go, taking him by the arms.”  This is teaching him to go indeed, to hold him up by the arms; by the chin, as we say (Hosea 14:2; 11:3).

From what has been said, I conclude, even as I said before, that the him in the text, and him that cometh, includeth both these sorts of sinners, and therefore both should freely come.

Question 1.  But where doth Jesus Christ, in all the word of the New Testament, expressly speak to a returning backslider with words of grace and peace?  For what you have urged as yet, from the New Testament, is nothing but consequences drawn from this text.  Indeed it is a full text for carnal ignorant sinners that come, but to me, who am a backslider, it yieldeth but little relief.

Answer.  How!  but little encouragement from the text, when it is said, “I will in now wise cast out”! What more could have been said?  What is here omitted that might have been inserted, to make the promise more full and free?  Nay, take all the promises in the Bible, all the freest promises, with all the variety of expressions of what nature or extent soever, and they can but amount to the expressions of this very promise, “I will in no wise cast out;” I will for nothing, by no means, upon no account, however they have sinned, however they have backslidden, however they have provoked, cast out the coming sinner.  But,

Question.  2.  Thou sayest, Where doth Jesus Christ, in all the words of the New Testament, speak to a returning backslider with words of grace and peace, that is under the name of a backslider?

Answer.  Where there is such plenty of examples in receiving backsliders, there is the less need for express words to that intent; one promise, as the text is, with those examples that are annexed, are instead of many promises.  And besides, I reckon that the act of receiving is of as much, if not of more encouragement, than is a bare promise to receive; for receiving is as the promise, and the fulfilling of it too; so that in the Old Testament thou hast the promise, and in the New, the fulfilling of it; and that in divers examples.

1.  In Peter.  Peter denied his master, once, twice, thrice, and that with open oath; yet Christ receives him again without any the least hesitation or stick.  Yea, he slips, stumbles, falls again, in downright dissimulation, and that to the hurt and fall of many others; but neither of this doth Christ make a bar to his salvation, but receives him again at his return, as if he knew nothing of the fault (Gal 2).

2.  The rest of the disciples, even all of them, did backslide and leave the Lord Jesus in his greatest straits. “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled,” (Matt 26:56), they returned, as he had foretold, every one to his own, and left him alone; but this also he passes over as a very light matter. Not that it was so indeed in itself, but the abundance of grace that was in him did lightly roll it away; for after his resurrection, when first he appeared unto them, he gives them not the least check for their perfidious dealings with him, but salutes them with words of grace, saying, “All hail! be not afraid, peace be to you; all power in heaven and earth is given unto me.”  True, he rebuked them for their unbelief, for the which also thou deservest the same.  For it is unbelief that alone puts Christ and his benefits from us (John 16:32; Matt 28:9–11; Luke 24:39; Mark 16:14).

3.  The man that after a large profession lay with his father’s wife, committed a high transgression, even such a one that at that day was not heard of, no, not among the Gentiles.  Wherefore this was a desperate backsliding; yet, at his return, he was received, and accepted again to mercy (1 Cor 5:1, 2; 2 Cor 2:6–8).

4. The thief that stole was bid to steal no more; not at all doubting but that Christ was ready to forgive him this act of backsliding (Eph 4:28).

Now all these are examples, particular instances of Christ’s readiness to receive the backsliders to mercy; and, observe it, examples and proofs that he hath done so are, to our unbelieving hearts, stronger encouragements than bare promises that so he will do.

But again, the Lord Jesus hath added to these, for the encouragement of returning backsliders, to come to him.  (1.)  A call to come, and he will receive them (Rev 2:1–5; 14–16; 20–22; 3:1–3; 15–22).  Wherefore New Testament backsliders have encouragement to come.  (2.)  A declaration of readiness to receive them that come, as here in the text, and in many other places, is plain.  Therefore, “Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps,” of the golden grace of the gospel, “set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest.”  When thou didst backslide; “turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities” (Jer 31:21).

“And him that cometh.”  He saith not, and him that talketh, that professeth, that maketh a show, a noise, or the like; but, him that cometh.  Christ will take leave to judge, who, among the many that make a noise, they be that indeed are coming to him.  It is not him that saith he comes, nor him of whom others affirm that he comes; but him that Christ himself shall say doth come, that is concerned in this text. When the woman that had the bloody issue came to him for cure, there were others as well as she, that made a great bustle about him, that touched, yea, thronged him.  Ah, but Christ could distinguish this woman from them all; “And he looked round about” upon them all, “to see her that had done this thing” (Mark 5:25–32).  He was not concerned with the thronging, or touchings of the rest; for theirs were but accidental, or at best, void of that which made her touch acceptable.  Wherefore Christ must be judge who they be that in truth are coming to him; Every man’s ways are right in his own eyes, “but the Lord weigheth the spirits” (Prov 16:2).  It standeth therefore every one in hand to be certain of their coming to Jesus Christ; for as thy coming is, so shall thy salvation be.  If thou comest indeed, thy salvation shall be indeed; but if thou comest but in outward appearance, so shall thy salvation be; but of coming, see before, as also afterwards, in the use and application.

“And him that cometh TO ME.”  These words to me are also well to be heeded; for by them, as he secureth those that come to him, so also he shows himself unconcerned with those that in their coming rest short, to turn aside to others; for you must know, that every one that comes, comes not to Jesus Christ; some that come, come to Moses, and to his law, and there take up for life; with these Christ is not concerned; with these his promise hath not to do. “Christ is become of no effect unto you; whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4).  Again, some that came, came no further than to gospel ordinances, and there stay; they came not through them to Christ; with these neither is he concerned; nor will their “Lord, Lord,” avail them anything in the great and dismal day. A man may come to, and also go from the place and ordinances of worship, and yet not be remembered by Christ.  “So I saw the wicked buried,” said Solomon, “who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done; this is also vanity” (Eccl 8:10).

“TO ME.”  These words, therefore, are by Jesus Christ very warily put in, and serve for caution and encouragement; for caution, lest we take up in our coming anywhere short of Christ; and for encouragement to those that shall in their coming, come past all; till they come to Jesus Christ. “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Reader, if thou lovest thy soul, take this caution kindly at the hands of Jesus Christ. Thou seest thy sickness, thy wound, thy necessity of salvation.  Well, go not to king Jareb, for he cannot heal thee, nor cure thee of thy wound (Hosea 5:13).  Take the caution, I say, lest Christ, instead of being a Savior unto thee, becomes a lion, a young lion, to tear thee, and go away (Hosea 5:14).

There is a coming, but not to the Most High; there is a coming, but not with the whole heart, but as it were feignedly; therefore take the caution kindly (Jer 3:10; Hosea 7:16).

“And him that cometh TO ME;” Christ as a Savior will stand alone, because his own arm alone hath brought salvation unto him. He will not be joined with Moses, nor suffer John Baptist to be tabernacled by him. I say they must vanish, for Christ will stand alone (Luke 9:28–36).  Yea, God the Father will have it so; therefore they must be parted from him, and a voice from heaven must come to bid the disciples hear only the beloved Son.  Christ will not suffer any law, ordinance, statute, or judgment, to be partners with him in the salvation of the sinner.  Nay, he saith not, and him that cometh to my WORD; but, and him that cometh to ME.  The words of Christ, even his most blessed and free promises, such as this in the text, are not the Savior of the world; for that is Christ himself, Christ himself only. The promises, therefore, are but to encourage the coming sinner to come to Jesus Christ, and not to rest in them, short of salvation by him.  “And him that cometh TO ME.”  The man, therefore, that comes aright, casts all things behind his back, and looketh at, nor hath his expectations from ought, but the Son of God alone; as David said, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock, and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psa 62:5, 6).  His eye is to Christ, his heart is to Christ, and his expectation is from him, from him only.

Therefore the man that comes to Christ, is one that hath had deep considerations of his own sins, slighting thoughts of his own righteousness, and high thoughts of the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ; yea, he sees, as I have said, more virtue in the blood of Christ to save him, than there is in all his sins to damn him.  He therefore setteth Christ before his eyes; there is nothing in heaven or earth, he knows, that can save his soul and secure him from the wrath of God, but Christ; that is, nothing but his personal righteousness and blood.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 266–269).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 13

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 13

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 13

Advantages to the Man that is Come to Christ

A man that is come to Christ hath the advantage of him that is but coming to him; and that in seven things.

1.  He that is come to Christ is nearer to him than he that is but coming to him; for he that is but coming to him is yet, in some sense, at a distance from him; as it is said of the coming prodigal, “And while he was yet a great way off” (Luke 15:20).  Now he that is nearer to him hath the best sight of him; and so is able to make the best judgment of his wonderful grace and beauty, as God saith, “Let them come near, then let them speak” (Isa 41:1).  And as the apostle John saith, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14).  He that is not yet come, though he is coming, is not fit, not being indeed capable to make that judgment of the worth and glory of the grace of Christ, as he is that is come to him, and hath seen and beheld it. Therefore, sinner, suspend thy judgment till thou art come nearer.

2.  He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming, in that he is eased of his burden; for he that is but coming is not eased of his burden (Matt 11:28).  He that is come has cast his burden upon the Lord.  By faith he hath seen himself released thereof; but he that is but coming hath it yet, as to sense and feeling, upon his own shoulders.  “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,” implies, that their burden, though they are coming, is yet upon them, and so will be till indeed they are come to him.

3.  He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming in this also, namely, he hath drank of the sweet and soul refreshing water of life; but he that is but coming hath not.  “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37).

Mark, He must come to him before he drinks: according to that of the prophet, “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.”  He drinketh not as he cometh, but when he is come to the waters (Isa 55:1).

4.  He that is come to Christ hath the advantage of him that as yet is but coming in this also, to wit, he is not so terrified with the noise, and, as I may call it, hue and cry, which the avenger of blood makes at the heels of him that yet is but coming to him.  When the slayer was on his flight to the city of his refuge, he had the noise or fear of the avenger of blood at his heels; but when he was come to the city, and was entered thereinto, that noise ceased.  Even so it is with him that is but coming to Jesus Christ, he heareth many a dreadful sound in is ear; sounds of death and damnation, which he that is come is at present freed from.  Therefore he saith, “Come, and I will give you rest.” And so he saith again, “We that have believed, do enter into rest,” as he said, &c. (Heb 4).

5.  He, therefore, that is come to Christ, is not so subject to those dejections, and castings down, by reason of the rage and assaults of the evil one, as is the man that is but coming to Jesus Christ, though he has temptations too.  “And as he was yet a-coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him” (Luke 9:42).  For he has, though Satan still roareth upon him, those experimental comforts and refreshments, to wit, in his treasury, to present himself with, in times of temptation and conflict; which he that is but coming has not.

6.  He that is come to Christ has the advantage of him that is but coming to him, in this also, to wit, he hath upon him the wedding garment, &c., but he that is coming has not.  The prodigal, when coming home to his father, was clothed with nothing but rags, and was tormented with an empty belly; but when he was come, the best robe is brought out, also the gold ring, and the shoes, yea, they are put upon him, to his great rejoicing.  The fatted calf was killed for him; the music was struck up to make him merry; and thus also the Father himself sang of him, “This my son was dead, and is alive again; was lost and is found” (Luke 15:18, 19).

7.  In a word, he that is come to Christ, his groans and tears, his doubts and fears, are turned into songs and praises; for that he hath now received the atonement, and the earnest of his inheritance; but he that is but yet a-coming, hath not those praises nor songs of deliverance with him; nor has he as yet received the atonement and earnest of his inheritance, which is, the sealing testimony of the Holy Ghost, through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon his conscience, for he is not come (Rom 5:11; Eph 1:13; Heb 12:22–24).

Import of the word COMETH

“And him that COMETH.” There is further to be gathered from this word cometh, these following particulars:—

1.  That Jesus Christ hath his eye upon, and takes notice of, the first moving of the heart of a sinner after himself. Coming sinner, thou canst not move with desires after Christ, but he sees the working of those desires in thy heart.  “All my desire,” said David, “is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee” (Psa 38:9).  This he spake, as he was coming, after he had backslidden, to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is said of the prodigal, that while he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, had his eye upon him, and upon the going out of his heart after him (Luke 15:20).

When Nathanael was come to Jesus Christ, the Lord said to them that stood before him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” But Nathanael answered him, “Whence knowest thou me?” Jesus answered, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.” There, I suppose, Nathanael was pouring out of his soul to God for mercy, or that he would give him good understanding about the Messias to come; and Jesus saw all the workings of his honest heart at that time (John 1:47, 48).

Zaccheus also had some secret movings of heart, such as they were, towards Jesus Christ, when he ran before, and climbed up the tree to see him; and the Lord Jesus Christ had his eye upon him: therefore, when he was come to the place, he looked up to him, bids him come down, “For today,” said he, “I must abide at thy house;” to wit, in order to the further completing the work of grace in his soul (Luke 19:1–9).  Remember this, coming sinner.

2.  As Jesus Christ hath his eye upon, so he hath his heart open to receive, the coming sinner. This is verified by the text: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  This is also discovered by his preparing of the way, in his making of it easy (as may be) to the coming sinner; which preparation is manifest by those blessed words, “I will in no wise cast out;” of which more when we come to the place.  And while “he was yet a great way off, his Father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).  All these expressions do strongly prove that the heart of Christ is open to receive the coming sinner.

3.  As Jesus Christ has his eye upon, and his heart open to receive, so he hath resolved already that nothing shall alienate his heart from receiving the coming sinner. No sins of the coming sinner, nor the length of the time that he hath abode in them, shall by any means prevail with Jesus Christ to reject him. Coming sinner, thou art coming to a loving Lord Jesus!

4.  These words therefore are dropped from his blessed mouth, on purpose that the coming sinner might take encouragement to continue on his journey, until he be come indeed to Jesus Christ. It was doubtless a great encouragement to blind Bartimeus, that Jesus Christ stood still and called him, when he was crying, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me;” therefore, it is said, he cast away his garment, “rose, and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:46).  Now, if a call to come hath such encouragement in it, what is a promise of receiving such, but an encouragement much more?  And observe it, though he had a call to come, yet not having a promise, his faith was forced to work upon a mere consequence, saying, He calls me; and surely since he calls me, he will grant me my desire.  Ah! but coming sinner, thou hast no need to go so far about as to draw (in this matter) consequences, because thou hast plain promises: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Here is full, plain, yea, what encouragement one can desire; for, suppose thou wast admitted to make a promise thyself, and Christ should attest that he would fulfil it upon the sinner that cometh to him, Couldst thou make a better promise? Couldst thou invent a more full, free, or larger promise? a promise that looks at the first moving of the heart after Jesus Christ?  A promise that declares, yea, that engageth Christ Jesus to open his heart to receive the coming sinner? yea, further, a promise that demonstrateth that the Lord Jesus is resolved freely to receive, and will in no wise cast out, nor means to reject, the soul of the coming sinner!  For all this lieth fully in this promise, and doth naturally flow therefrom. Here thou needest not make use of far-fetched consequences, nor strain thy wits, to force encouraging arguments from the text. Coming sinner, the words are plain:  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 264–266).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 12

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 12

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 12

Import of the Work Him

“And him.”  This word him; by it Christ looketh back to the gift of the Father; not only in the lump and whole of the gift, but to the every him of that lump.  As who should say, I do not only accept of the gift of my Father in the general, but have a special regard to every of them in particular; and will secure not only some, or the greatest part, but every him, every dust. Not a hoof of all shall be lost or left behind. And, indeed, in this he consenteth to his Father’s will, which is that of all that he hath given him, he should lose nothing (John 6:39).

“And him.”  Christ Jesus, also, by his thus dividing the gift of his Father into hims, and by his speaking of them in the singular number, shows what a particular work shall be wrought in each one, at the time appointed of the Father.  “And it shall come to pass in that day,” saith the prophet, “that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.”  Here are the hims, one by one, to be gathered to him by the Father (Isa 27:12).

He shows also hereby that no lineage, kindred, or relation, can at all be profited by any outward or carnal union with the person that the Father hath given to Christ.  It is only him, the given HIM, the coming him, that he intends absolutely to secure. Men make a great ado with the children of believers; and oh the children of believers!  But if the child of the believer is not the him concerned in this absolute promise, it is not these men’s great cry, nor yet what the parent or child can do, that can interest him in this promise of the Lord Christ, this absolute promise.

AND HIM.  There are divers sorts of persons that the Father hath given to Jesus Christ; they are not all of one rank, of one quality; some are high, some are low; some are wise, some fools; some are more civil, and complying with the law; some more profane, and averse to him and his gospel. Now, since those that are given to him are, in some sense, so diverse; and again, since he yet saith, “And him that cometh,” &c., he, by that, doth give us to understand that he is not, as men, for picking and choosing, to take a best and leave a worst, but he is for him that the Father hath given him, and that cometh to him. “He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good,” (Lev 27:10); but will take him as he is, and will save his soul.

There is many a sad wretch given by the Father to Jesus Christ; but not one of them all is despised or slighted by him. It is said of those that the Father hath given to Christ that they have done worse than the heathen; that they were murderers, thieves, drunkards, unclean persons, and what not; but he has received them, washed them, and saved them.  A fit emblem of this sort is that wretched instance mentioned in the 16th of Ezekiel, that was cast out in a stinking condition, to the loathing of its person, in the days that it was born; a creature in such a wretched condition, that no eye pitied, to do any of the things there mentioned unto it, or to have compassion upon it; no eye but his that speaketh in the text.

AND HIM.  Let him be as red as blood, let him be as red as crimson. Some men are blood-red sinners, crimson-sinners, sinners of a double die; dipped and dipped again, before they come to Jesus Christ. Art thou that readest these lines such an one?  Speak out, man!  Art thou such an one? and art thou now coming to Jesus Christ for the mercy of justification, that thou mightest be made white in his blood, and be covered with his righteousness?  Fear not; forasmuch as this thy coming betokeneth that thou art of the number of them that the Father hath given to Christ; for he will in no wise cast thee out. “Come now,” saith Christ, “and let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18).

AND HIM.  There was many a strange HIM came to Jesus Christ, in the days of his flesh; but he received them all, without turning any away; speaking unto them “of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (Luke 9:11; 4:40).  These words, AND HIM, are therefore words to be wondered at. That not one of them who, by virtue of the Father’s gift, and drawing, are coming to Jesus Christ, I say, that not one of them, whatever they have been, whatever they have done, should be rejected or set by, but admitted to a share in his saving grace.  It is said in Luke, that the people “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (4:22).  Now this is one of his gracious words; these words are like drops of honey, as it is said, “Pleasant words are as an honey-comb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Prov 16:24).  These are gracious words indeed, even as full as a faithful and merciful High-priest could speak them. Luther saith, “When Christ speaketh, he hath a mouth as wide as heaven and earth.” That is, to speak fully to the encouragement of every sinful him that is coming to Jesus Christ. And that his word is certain, hear how himself confirms it:  “Heaven and earth,” saith he, “shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away” (Isa 51:6; Matt 24:35).

It is also confirmed by the testimony of the four evangelists, who gave faithful relation of his loving reception of all sorts of coming sinners, whether they were publicans, harlots, thieves, possessed of devils, bedlams, and what not (Luke 19:1–10; Matt 21:31; Luke 15; 23:43; Mark 16:9; 5:1–9).

This, then, shows us, 1.  “The greatness of the merits of Christ.”  2.  The willingness of his heart to impute them for life to the great, if coming, sinners.

1.   This shows us the greatness of the merits of Christ; for it must not be supposed, that his words are bigger than his worthiness. He is strong to execute his word.  He can do, as well as speak. He can do exceeding abundantly more than we ask or think, even to the uttermost, and outside of his word (Eph 3:20).  Now, then, since he concludeth any coming HIM; it must be concluded, that he can save to the uttermost sin, any coming HIM.

Do you think, I say, that the Lord Jesus did not think before he spake?  He speaks all in righteousness, and therefore by his word we are to judge how mighty he is to save (Isa 63:1).  He speaketh in righteousness, in very faithfulness, when he began to build this blessed gospel-fabric, the text; it was for that he had first sat down, and counted the cost; and for that, he knew he was able to finish it!  What, Lord, any him? any him that cometh to thee?  This is a Christ worth looking after, this is a Christ worth coming to!

This, then, should learn us diligently to consider the natural force of every word of God; and to judge of Christ’s ability to save, not by our sins, or by our shallow apprehensions of his grace; but by his word, which is the true measure of grace.  And if we do not judge thus, we shall dishonor his grace, lose the benefit of his word, and needlessly fright ourselves into many discouragements though coming to Jesus Christ.  Him, any him that cometh, hath sufficient from this word of Christ, to feed himself with hopes of salvation.  As thou art therefore coming, O thou coming sinner, judge thou, whether Christ can save thee by the true sense of his words: judge, coming sinner, of the efficacy of his blood, of the perfection of his righteousness, and of the prevalency of his intercession, by his word.  “And him,” saith he, “that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  “In no wise,” that is, for no sin. Judge therefore by his word, how able he is to save thee.  It is said of God’s sayings to the children of Israel, “There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass” (Josh 21:45).  And again, “Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you, all are come to pass unto you; and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Josh 23:14).

Coming sinner, what promise thou findest in the word of Christ, strain it whither thou canst, so thou dost not corrupt it, and his blood and merits will answer all; what the word saith, or any true consequence that is drawn therefrom, that we may boldly venture upon.  As here in the text he saith, “And him that cometh,” indefinitely, without the least intimation of the rejection of any, though never so great, if he be a coming sinner.  Take it then for granted, that thou, whoever thou art, if coming, art intended in these words; neither shall it injure Christ at all, if, as Benhadad’s servants served Ahab, thou shalt catch him at his word.  “Now,” saith the text, “the man did diligently observe whether anything would come from him,” to wit, any word of grace; “and did hastily catch it.” And it happened that Ahab had called Benhadad his brother.  The man replied, therefore, “Thy brother Benhadad!” (1 Kings 20:33), catching him at his word.  Sinner, coming sinner, serve Jesus Christ thus, and he will take it kindly at thy hands. When he in his argument called the Canaanitish woman dog, she catched him at it, and saith, “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”  I say, she catched him thus in his words, and he took it kindly, saying, “O woman great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt 15:28).  Catch him, coming sinner, catch him in his words, surely he will take it kindly, and will not be offended at thee.

2.  The other thing that I told you is showed from these words, is this:  The willingness of Christ’s heart to impute his merits for life to the great, if coming sinner.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

The awakened coming sinner doth not so easily question the power of Christ, as his willingness to save him. Lord, “if thou wilt, thou canst,” said one (Mark 1:40).  He did not put the if upon his power, but upon his will.  He concluded he could, but he was not as fully of persuasion that he would.  But we have the same ground to believe he will, as we have to believe he can; and, indeed, ground for both is the Word of God.  If he was not willing, why did he promise?  Why did he say he would receive the coming sinner?  Coming sinner, take notice of this; we use to plead practices with men, and why not with God likewise?  I am sure we have no more ground for the one than the other; for we have to plead the promise of a faithful God.  Jacob took him there:  “Thou saidst,” said he, “I will surely do thee good” (Gen 32:12).  For, from this promise he concluded, that it followed in reason, “He must be willing.”

The text also gives some ground for us to draw the same conclusion.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Here is his willingness asserted, as well as his power suggested.  It is worth your observation, that Abraham’s faith considered rather God’s power than his willingness; that is, he drew his conclusion, “I shall have a child,” from the power that was in God to fulfil the promise to him.  For he concluded he was willing to give him one, else he would not have promised one.  “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform” (Rev 4:10, 11).  But was not his faith exercised, or tried, about his willingness too?  No, there was no show of reason for that, because he had promised it. Indeed, had he not promised it, he might lawfully have doubted it; but since he had promised it, there was left no ground at all for doubting, because his willingness to give a son was demonstrated in his promising him a son.  These words, therefore, are sufficient ground to encourage any coming sinner that Christ is willing to his power to receive him; and since he hath power also to do what he will, there is no ground at all left to the coming sinner any more to doubt; but to come in full hope of acceptance, and of being received unto grace and mercy.  “And him that cometh.”  He saith not, and him that is come; but, and him that cometh; that is, and him whose heart begins to move after me, who is leaving all for my sake; him who is looking out, who is on his journey to me.  We must, therefore, distinguish betwixt coming, and being come to Jesus Christ.  He that is come to him has attained of him more sensibly what he felt before that he wanted, than he has that but yet is coming to him.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 262–264).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 11

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 11

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 11

The Promise to Those Coming to Christ

“AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I will in no wise cast out.”

By these words our Lord Jesus doth set forth yet more amply the great goodness of his nature towards the coming sinner.  Before, he said, They shall come; and here he declareth, That with heart and affections he will receive them.  But, by the way, let me speak one word or two to the seeming conditionality of this promise with which now I have to do.  “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Where it is evident, may some say, that Christ’s receiving us to mercy depends upon our coming, and so our salvation by Christ is conditional. If we come, we shall be received; if not, we shall not; for that is fully intimated by the words. The promise of reception is only to him that cometh.  “And him that cometh.”  I answer, that the coming in these words mentioned, as a condition of being received to life, is that which is promised, yea, concluded to be effected in us by the promise going before. In those latter words, coming to Christ is implicitly required of us; and in the words before, that grace that can make us come is positively promised to us.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” thence.  We come to Christ, because it is said, We shall come; because it is given to us to come.  So that the condition which is expressed by Christ in these latter words is absolutely promised in the words before. And, indeed, the coming here intended is nothing else but the effect of “shall come to me.  They shall come, and I will not cast them out.”

“AND HIM THAT COMETH.”

He saith not, and him that is come, but him that cometh.  To speak to these words, First, In general. Second, More particularly.

[First.]  In general.  They suggest unto us these four things:—

1.  That Jesus Christ doth build upon it, that since the Father gave his people to him, they shall be enabled to come unto him.  “And him that cometh.”  As who should say, I know that since they are given to me, they shall be enabled to come unto me. He saith not, if they come, or I suppose they will come; but, “and him that cometh.”  By these words, therefore, he shows us that he addresseth himself to the receiving of them whom the Father gave to him to save them.  I say, he addresseth himself, or prepareth himself to receive them.  By which, as I said, he concludeth or buildeth upon it, that they shall indeed come to him.  He looketh that the Father should bring them into his bosom, and so stands ready to embrace them.

2.  Christ also suggesteth by these words, that he very well knoweth who are given to him; not by their coming to him, but by their being given to him.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh,” &c.  This him he knoweth to be one of them that the Father hath given him; and, therefore, he received him, even because the Father hath given him to him (John 10).  “I know my sheep,” saith he.  Not only those that already have knowledge of him, but those, too, that yet are ignorant of him.  “Other sheep I have,” said he, “which are not of this fold,” (John 10:16); not of the Jewish church, but those that lie in their sins, even the rude and barbarous Gentiles.  Therefore, when Paul was afraid to stay at Corinth, from a supposition that some mischief might befall him there; “Be not afraid,” said the Lord Jesus to him, “but speak, and hold not thy peace—for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9, 10).  The people that the Lord here speaks of were not at this time accounted his, by reason of a work of conversion that already had passed upon them, but by virtue of the gift of the Father; for he had given them unto him.  Therefore was Paul to stay here, to speak the word of the Lord to them, that, by his speaking, the Holy Ghost might effectually work over their souls, to the causing them to come to him, who was also ready, with heart and soul, to receive them.

3. Christ, by these words, also suggesteth, that no more come unto him than, indeed, are given him of the Father.  For the him in this place is one of the all that by Christ was mentioned before.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” and every him of that all, “I will in no wise cast out.”  This the apostle insinuateth, where he saith, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11–13).

Mark, as in the text, so here he speaketh of all.  “Until we all come.” We all! all who? Doubtless, “All that the Father giveth to Christ.”  This is further insinuated, because he called this ALL the body of Christ; the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  By which he means the universal number given; to wit, the true elect church, which is said to be his body and fullness (Eph 1:22, 23).

4.  Christ Jesus, by these words, further suggesteth, that he is well content with this gift of the Father to him.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  I will heartily, willingly, and with great content of mind, receive him.

They show us, also, that Christ’s love in receiving is as large as his Father’s love in giving, and no larger. Hence, he thanks him for his gift, and also thanks him for hiding of him and his things from the rest of the wicked (Matt 11:25; Luke 10:21).  But,

Secondly, and more particularly, “And HIM that cometh.”

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 261–262).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)


Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

Contact Us

  • Address:
    PO Box 1207, Englewood, CO 80150-1207

  • Phone: (800) 798-7875

  • Email: admin@cmfhq.org

Webmaster

Book Offers