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by hating him and disobeying his commands ? O ingratitude ! legitimate child of the Pharisee, retire, cold and unfeeling, to the frosty bosom from whence thou hast come.
It has already been suggested, that by coming unto Christ is meant, being taught of God and believing in Christ. and this was seen by the words of Christ; and this was seen by the words of Christ in the 6th of John, which have been quoted. They therefore, who come to Jesus, come to him in their understanding; they receive him as their prophet to teach them, their priest, who offered himself for the sinner, without spot unto God, and as a king to rule them. The blessings enjoyed in consequence of coming to Christ are expressed in his most gracious words, recorded in Matt. xi. ; “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart ; and
shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” How lovely does the Saviour appear in his gracious invitations and promises. He invites all to come to him; he promises to draw all men to him ; he promises to give them all rest and an easy service; he promises that he will in no wise cast any out.
Well did the dear Redeemer say; “ I will draw all men unto me. The doctrine of Jesus is perfectly calculated to draw men. It holds up to view those virtues and those advantages which are powerful attractions. In the passage just recited, those who are heavy laden are promised rest.
What can be more inviting to any who have for a long time labored under an intolerable burden, than an opportunity to cast it off, and to enjoy rest ? Suppose men were in bondage and hard servitude, as were the Israelites in Egypt, oppressed with severe taskmasters and made to serve with the most cruel rigor ; and a humane, benevolent prince should ransom them all, and invite them into his country, where they should have all things they wanted without money and without price, where no law but the perfect law of liberty exists, where they
would have no service to perform but such in which they should have perfect delight and freedom, would not a clear manifestation of these facts draw them away from the tyrant to their kind deliverer and Saviour? Would it be necessary to threaten them, and preach up terror to them? Would it be proper to tell them that the person who had ransomed them would come and put them to the most cruel tortures if they did not immediately enter into his service ? Under all these circumstances, would it be necessary to tell these miserable wretches, that it is true their present services are very light, merely nothing in comparison with the service of the prince who had purchased them, but then this prince would punish them all with the most cruel tortures if they should not enter his service without delay? If any thing could possibly operate to deceive these redeemed ones, and to keep them in slavery it must be some such deceit. As certain as they should be made to believe such falsehoods, they would make nice calculations not to go into the hated service any sooner than just to escape the tortures threatened. they should go to this person in consequence of these threatenings, they would not be drawn, they would be driven. Jesus did not say, I will drive all men to
If we were to judge by some preaching that we hear, we should suppose the preachers were sent to drive us to heaven, in the greatest haste too, for fear our Redeemer would destroy us ?
The Saviour says in the 6th of John, as before quoted; :I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger." What is more drawing to the destitute, foodless poor than the gladsome news of bread, without money and without price? Suppose such a famine as was in Egypt and all the countries round about it should visit
the United States, the provisions of the land, after the most prudent measures had been taken, is nearly exhausted, pale hunger makes its appearance on all faces, and the wisest know of no relief; at this awful crisis a large fleet from a foreign country arrives with vast quantities of bread as a pres
ent to us! how would it draw the people. In what crowds would they rush along the streets; how would every eye and every countenance brighten with glad
In such a circumstance as this what should we think of a man who should come forward and say; “I am sent by the monarch who has sent you bread, to warn you to apply immediately for his bounty that you may escape his vengeance? And what should we think of the people who should spend their time to hear these terrors proclaimed? In such a time of favor and rejoicing, would it be seemly to stop the hungry and tell them they have no right to the free bounty that has arrived unless they really believe in this act of goodness ? Would it be thought indispensably necessary to have a creed written, with well studied articles to the number of thirty-nine, for the people all to learn by heart before they should be allowed taste the bread of life? Would it be treating those, who were fainting for want of food, according to the benevolent designs of the gracious donor of these am. ple provisions, to prevent their receiving this unpurchased, unconditional favor, by suggesting conditions, terms, and articles of faith to be complied with and believed ? Suppose the articles are all made out according to the wisdom of him, who urges their necessity, but the people cannot understand them. Some are mysterious, some are in direct opposition to others; one explains them in one way; and another explains them in another way, many profess to believe them because they are told that they cannot obtain favor unless they do. Those who should believe in this case might believe themselves to death, and close their eyes without seeing the salvation which mercy had sent them : others, whose minds should revolt at a creed which contains contradictions, would be turned away as unbelievers, and fare no better than those who believe.
“ If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.” The unfortunate, who have suffered hunger and thirst in sultry climes, inform us the want of drink is vastly more severe than the want of food
Here then the merciful Saviour makes use of a simile which gives the most striking idea of his goodness. Of a number of faint, weary, hungry, and thirsty pilgrims, on burning sands, if one should cry out to his fellows, here is water! How quickly would it draw them all together.
The prophet Isaiah, speaking of Jesus, says; “ A man shall be an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as a river of water in a dry place: as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” How very inviting, how attracting how drawing are the favors here noticed. The beasts of the field and the fowls of the air seek these favors. When storms and winds beat on them, they seek a shelter; when they are thirsty. you find them by the streams; and when a sultry sun is vehement you find them in the shade. Do you ask what these things mean? Do you inquire how you can obtain so great a favor ? The word is nigh thee, even in thy heart and in thy mouth. Jesus is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. To be drawn to Christ is to be drawn into wisdom, whose ways are pleasantness and all her paths are peace. It is to be drawn into righteousness, which is heaven. It is to be drawn into sanctification, which is holiness. It is to be drawn into redemption, which is freedom from the law of sin and death. O Jesus, how great is thy promise! Thou wilt draw all men unto thyself
. Then shall every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all which are in them ; say, blessing and honnor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.
CHRIST SOWING THE GOOD SEED, IN TEARS.
PSALM cxxvi. 6.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall, doubtless,
come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Divine wisdom has seen fit, that the commencement of those affairs which are designed to 'terminate in great and extensive blessings to mankind, should be distinguished for the hardships, painful labors, extreme difficulties, privations, uncommon sufferings, sorrow and tears which attend them. This remark will be found to be, generally, appropriate, whether applied to political or religious concerns, and is often justified by the experience of individuals. This sentiment seems symbolically expressed in our text and its introduction. To represent the reverse of condition which Zion experienced by a deliverance from captivity, the prophet says;
“ When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall, doubtless, come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.''
From the scanty portion of grain, on which the husbandman depends to bread his dependent family, he takes a selected portion, and having with much labor prepared his field, he commits the precious seed to the