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CHRIS

TOCKING AT THE DOOR.

274 CHRIST KNOCKING AT THE DOOR. ed to find worthiness in thee, but it highly pleases hiin to find thee under a becoming sense of thy unworthiness. “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.” Jer. 3 : 13. The returning prodigal acknowledged to his father, I am not worthy to be called thy son. Luke 15:18, 19. But this did not hinder his acceptance by his father. All that come to God to be justified, must see and confess their own vileness, and come to him as one that justifieth the ungodly. Rom. 4:5.

2. Thy former vileness and present unworthiness can be no bar to Christ's entrance, because it can be no surprise to him. He knew thou wast unworthy when he made the first overture of grace and reconciliation to thee; and if thy unworthiness hindered not the beginning of hiş treaty with thee, it shall not hinder the closing act in his union with thee. “I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.” Isa. 48:8.

3. Christ never came into a soul where Satan had not the possession before him. Every soul in which Christ now dwells was once in Satan's possession. “To turn them from darkness to light, and froin the power of Satan unto God.” Acts 26:18. “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoil.” Luke 11:21, 22.

4. Thy present unworthiness can be no bar to Christ's entrance into thy soul, because Christ never objected to any man his unworthiness, but only his unwillingness to come to him. “Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. And again, “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. You find something like a repulse from Christ to the poor Canaanitess : “Have mercy on me, O Lord,” said that distressed soul ; " but he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs." Matt. 15:22, 26. However harshly these words sound, it was not Christ's intention to discourage her faith, but to draw it forth to a more intense degree ; which effect was produced. Verse 27.

5. Neither would Christ have made the tenders of mercy so large and indefinite, had he intended to shut out any soul on account of its personal unworthiness, provided it be but-willing to come to him. Cast thine eye, discouraged soul, on Christ's invitations and proclamations of mercy in the gospel, and see if thou canst find any thing besides unwillingness as a bar between thee and mercy; hearken to that voice of mercy: “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 ;” that is, without personal desert or worthiness. Isa. 55:1. So again, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev. 22:17. Here you see personal unworthiness is no obstacle in the way of Christ. Once more, “ In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” John 7:37. Thus you see what Christ's coming in to the soul is, and what evidences there are that when the soul is made truly willing, Christ will certainly come into it; and no former vileness or present unworthiness shall be a bar to obstruct his entrance.

III. I shall show that WHEN CHRIST COMES IN 'TO THE SOUL, HE WILL NOT COME EMPTY-HANDED. It is Christ's marriage-day, and he will make it a good day, a festival day; bringing such comforts with him as the soul never tasted

before. He spreads a table and furnishes it with the delicacies of heaven. “I will sup with him," saith the text. What those spiritual mercies are which Christ brings with him to the opening soul, comes next in order to be spoken of. And,

1. When Christ comes in to the soul of a sinner, he brings a pardon with him-a full, free, and final pardon of all the sins which that soul has ever committed. This is a feast of itself, good cheer indeed ; Christ thought it to be so when he told the poor palsied man,“ Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Matt. 9:2. He does not say, Be of good cheer, thy palsy is cured, and thy body recovered from the grave; but, “ be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven.” O how sweetly may the pardoned soul feed upon this. And this is not a mercy designed for some special favorites, but what is common to all believers. “By him all that believe are justified from all things.” Acts 13:39. Christ and pardon come together; and without a pardon no mercy would relish : neither feast nor music, neither money nor honor bring any comfort to a condemned man; but the comfort of a pardon reaches to the very heart. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem,” Isa. 40:1, 2; or, as in the Hebrew, “speak to the heart of Jerusalem.” But what are the ingredients of that cordial that will comfort Jerusalem's heart? “ Cry unto her, that her iniquity is pardoned." That carries with it the spirit of all consolation.

There are three things in the pardon of sin which make it the sweetest mercy the soul ever tasted ; comfort which is impossible to be communicated to another as the pardoned soul has it. Rev. 2:17.

(1.) One thing which makes the pardon of sin sweet, is the trouble that went defore it. The laborings and restless tossings of the troubled soul, before his pardon, make the ease and peace that follow it incomparably sweet. As the bitterness of hell was tasted in the sorrows of sin, so the sweetness of heaven is tasted in the pardon of it.

(2.) The nature of the mercy itself is incomparably sweet, for it is a mercy of the first rank. Pardon is a mercy which admits no comfort before it, nor can any just cause of discouragement follow it. If God has not spoken pardon to the soul, it can have no settled ground for joy. Ezek. 33:10. And if he has, there can be no just ground for dejection, whatever troubles lie upon it. “The inhabitantshall not say, I am sick ; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquities.” Isa. 33 : 24.

(3.) This mercy is made sweet to the soul by the properties of it, which are four: first, God writes upon thy pardon, free; it is mercy which costs thee nothing : “Being justified freely by his grace.” Rom. 3:24. “Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices ; but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.” But, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isa. 43:24, 25. Second, God writes upon thy pardon, full, as well as free; the pardon extends to all the sins thou hast ever committed : “By him all that believe are justified from all things.” Acts 13:39. The sins of thy nature and practice; the sins of thy youth and riper age; great sins and lesser, are all comprehended within thy pardon. Thou art acquitted not from one only, but from all. Certainly, the joy of heaven must come down in the mercy of remission. What a feast of fat things with marrow is this single mercy, a pardon free without price, full without exception. And then, third, it is final, without revocation; the pardoned soul never more comes into condemnation. Thine iniquities are removed from thee as far as the east is from the west. As those two opposite points can never meet, so the pardoned soul and its pardoned sins

can never more meet unto condemnation. Psalm 103 : 12. Fourth, God writes upon the pardon another word, as sweet as any of the rest, and that is, sure. It is a standing mercy, never to be recalled or annulled. Rom. 8:33–35. The challenge is sent to earth and hell, men and devils: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.” Who can arrest when the creditor discharges ? Who can sue the bond when the debt is paid? “It is Christ that died.” The table is spread, and the first mercy served in is the pardon of sin. “Eat, О friends ; drink, yea, drink abundantly, 0 beloved.” Sol. Song 5:2. Now the laboring conscience that rolled and tossed upon the waves of a thousand fears, may drop anchor, and ride quiet in the pacific sea of a pardoned state. What joy must flow through the conscience when the sweetness of that scripture, “ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 8:1, shall be pressed into thy cup of consolation. The pardoned soul may think of death and judgment without consternation; yea, may look upon them as a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19. This is heavenly manna, the sweetness of it exceeds all expression ; no words, no thoughts can comprehend the riches of this mercy.

2. And yet this is not all; behold another mercy brought in to cheer the consenting soul, and that is peace with God. Pardon and peace go together : “ Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” Rom. 5:1. Peace is a word of vast comprehension : in the language of the Old Testament, it comprehends all temporal good things, 1 Sam. 25:6; and peace in the New Testament comprehends all spiritual mercies, 2 Thess. 3:16: the blessings of heaven and earth are wrapt up in this word. The soul that opens to Christ has the peace of reconciliation with heaven; the enmity that was between God and that soul is taken away

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