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manding interest; it is a growing interest; it is a peculiar interest; it is a lasting interest; and really, if the Lord Jesus have such an interest in you, you may be as confident that you have a real and glorious interest in him, as you are confident that you live.
And thus much for the means whereby you may come to know your interest in rich Jesus.
Before I close up this discourse, give me leave to speak a few words to poor sinners, who to this very day are afar off from this Jesus, who is so rich in all excellencies and glories. Ah poor hearts, you havejieard much of the riches of the Lord Jesus, and O that I could persuade you to get an interest in this Christ! Get this Christ, and you get all; miss him, and you miss all. It is a matter of eternal concernment to your souls. Nothing can make that man miserable, who has this rich Christ; nothing can make that man happy, who wants this rich Christ. In Prov. iv. 5, 7, it is said, Get wisdom, that is, Christ, get understanding, forget it not. Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get .wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding. And so in Prov. xvi. 16; How much better is it to get wisdom than gold? and to get understanding, rather to be chosen than silver? Hadst thou all the power of the world, without an interest in Christ, thou wouldst be but weak. Hadst thou all the wit and learning in the world, without an interest in Christ, thou wilt be but a fool. Hadst thou all the honour in the world, yet without an interest in Christ, thou wouldst be but base. Hadst thou all the wealth in the world, yet without an interest in Christ, thou wouldst be but a beggar. O therefore labour for an interest in Christ! O turn the wise merchant at last ! The wise merchant in the gospel, parts with all to buy the pearl, to get an interest in Christ. O it is your greatest wisdom, it is of an eternal concernment to your souls; to sell all, to part with all, for an interest in the Lord Jesus. O do not deal with your souls, when Christ is tendered and offered to you, as sometimes simple people do when they go to market; they might have a good pennyworth, but they are loath to part with some old piece of gold, that has been given them by a father or a friend: somewhat willing they are to have a good pennyworth, but unwilling they are to part with their gold. It is so with many poor sinners. When the Lord Jesus Christ is presented to their souls as a very glorious pennyworth, somewhat willing they are to have him, but unwilling they are to part with their old gold, with some old sweet, darling lust. But, sinners, do not you deceive your own souls: sin and your souls must part, or Christ and your souls can never meet; sin and your souls must be two, or Christ and your souls can never be one. Christ is a most precious commodity; he is better than rubies or the most costly pearls; and you must part with your old gold, with your shining gold, your old sins, your most shining sins, or you must perish for ever. Christ is to be sought and bought with any pains, at any price; we cannot buy this gold too dear. He is a jewel more worth than a thousand worlds, as all know who have him. Get him, and get all; miss him, and miss all.
Now if ever you would get an interest in Christ, and so by gaining an interest in him, be possessed of all the riches and glory that come by him, then be sure to get your hearts possessed with these nine principles that follow.
1. And the first principle is this, that the great end and design of Christ's coming into the world, was the salvation of sinners. Get this principle rooted in your spirits. I came not to call the righteous, says he, but sinners to repentance, Matt. ix. 13. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, 1 Tim. i. 15. Christ lays aside his royal crown, he puts off his glorious robe, he leaves his Father's bosom, he takes a journey from heaven to earth, and all to save poor lost sinners. That which Christ had most in his eye and upon his heart in his coming into the world was the salvation of sinners. Lay up this truth, feed upon this honey-comb.
2. Get this principle rooted in your hearts, that none ever yet obtained an interest in Christ, but unworthy creatures. When you are pressed to get an interest in Christ, you are ready to say, ' O, I am unworthy; will Christ ever look after such a one, as I am?' I answer, yes; for this is a most certain principle, that none ever attained an interest in Christ, but unworthy creatures. Was Paul worthy before he had an interest in Christ? What worthiness was in Matthew, when Christ called him from the receipt of custom?' And what worthiness was in Zaccheus, when Christ called him down from the sycamore tree, and told him, that this day salvation was come to his house? Was Manasseh or Mary Magdalene worthy before they had an interest in Christ? Surely not. Though you are unworthy, yet Christ is worthy. Though you have no merit, yet God has mercy. Though there is no salvation for you by the law, yet there is salvation for you by the gospel.
Again; Christ requires no worthiness in any man before he believes, and he who will not believe before he is worthy, will never believe. If you look upon God with an evangelical eye, you will see that he who is most unworthythy, is most capable of mercy. A real sense of our own unworthiness, renders us most fit for divine mercy. This objection, ' I am unworthy,' is an unworthy objection, and speaks out much pride, and ignorance of the gospel and of the freeness and riches of God's grace.
3. Let this principle dwell in you, that Christ has lost none of his affection to poor sinners by going to heaven. O how did his bowels work towards sinners, when he was on earth! And certainly they work as strongly towards them now he is in heaven. His love, his heart, his good will, is as much towards them as ever. Christ is Alpha and Omega; the phrase is taken from the Greek letters, whereof Alpha is the first, and Omega the last. I am before all, and I am after all, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Christ is the same before time, in time, and after time. Christ is unchangeable in his essence, in his promises, and in his love to poor sinners.
4. Get this principle rivetted in your hearts, that he is able to save to the uttermost, all them that come unto God by him. He is able to save to the uttermost; that is, to all ends and purposes, perfectly and perpetually. He needs none to help him in the great business of redemption; he is a thorough Saviour, He has trod the wine-press alone.
5. Get this principle rivetted in your hearts, that the want of such preparations or qualifications as many men lay a great stress upon, shall be no impediment to hinder your soul's interest in Christ, ifyoti will but open to Christ, and close with Jesus Christ. Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open to me, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Pray tell me at whose door was this that Christ stood and knocked? Was it not at the Laodicean's door? Was it not at their door, who thought their penny as good silver as any? who said they were rich, and had need of nothing, when Christ tells them to their very faces, that they were poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked? None more unprepared, unqualified, and unfitted for union and communion with Christ, than these lukewarm LaodiceanS; and yet the Lord Jesus is very ready and willing that such should have intimate communion and fellowship with him.
If any man will open, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he, with me. The truth of this yon have further evidenced in Prov. i. 20—24; viii. 1—6; ix. 1—6. All these scriptures with open mouth speak out the truth asserted, that the want of preparations or qualifications shall not hinder the soul's interest in Christ, if the soul will adventure itself by faith upon Christ. I pray what qualifications and preparations had they in Ezek. xvi. when God saw them in their blood? and yet that was a time of love, and God even then spread his skirt over them, and made a covenant with them, and they became his. What qualifications or preparations had Paul, Mary Magdalene, Zaccheus, and Lydia? And yet these believed in Christ; these had a blessed and glorious interest in Christ.
But some may object, and say, ' what is the meaning of that text in Matt. xi. 28; Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest?' There is a three-fold answer to be given to this objection.
First; though the invitation is to those that are weary and heavy laden, yet the promise is made to coming, to believing.
Secondly; this text shews only this, that those who are burdened and bowed down under sin, and under the sense of divine wrath, are to come to Christ, and that there is no way for them to obtain ease and rest, but by coming
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to Christ; but this text does not shew that only these must come to Christ, or that only these may come to Christ.
Thirdly; no one scripture speaks out the whole mind of God; and therefore you must compare and consult this scripture with the scriptures and instances lately cited, and then you will clearly see, that souls may believe in Christ and come to obtain an interest in Christ, though they are not so and so prepared, nor so and so qualified, as some would have them.
6. Get this principle rooted in your hearts, that Christ is appointed and anointed by the Father to this very office of receiving and saving poor sinners. Turn to Isa. lxi. 1—3; John vi. 27; Psal. lxviii. 18; Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Christ has received gifts for rebellious sinners, for rebellious sabbath-breakers, for rebellious swearers, for rebellious drunkards, that the Lord God might dwell among them; that is, that he might have near communion, and fellowship with them.
7. Get this principle rooted in you, that it is the delight of Christ to give poor sinners an interest in himself He is not only able to do it, but it is his delight to do it. Christ's soul is in nothing more. Witness his leaving his Father's bosom; witness his laying down his crown; witness those many sufferings and death that he went through in this world; witness those gospel-acclamations in Mark xvi. 6; Rev. xxii. 17; witness those persuasive exhortations and gracious impetrations and intreaties in Ezek. xxxiii. 11; Mat. xi. 28; 2 Cor. v. 20; witness those divine injunctions and communications in 1 Johniii.23; Mat. xi. 27; witness those pathetical lamentations in Mat. xxiii. 37; Luke xix. 42; Psalm lxxxi. 13; and witness the inward motions and secret excitations of his blessed Spirit, Gen. vi. 3. All which speak out his great willingness and delight to save poor sinners. So in Psalm xl. 8; I delight to do thy will, 0 my God, thy law is in my heart; or as the Hebrew has it, it is in the midst of my bowels. Now mark, the will of the Father was the salvation of sinners. This was the will of the Father, that Jesus Christ should