I shall only say two things here.

1. An early seeking of CHRIST has the promise of finding him. Our text is such a promise. The prophet tells us from God, Isa. xlv. 19. "I said not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain ;" No, God has said, if we seek him aright we shall find him: See, Deut. iv. 29. "But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul." 1 Chron. xxviii. 29. "If thou seek him he will be found of thee." Jer. xxix. 13. "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." And a multitude more of exceeding great and precious promises, we have in the word of God of this nature. And since there are so many promises of finding Christ, to those that are early seekers of him; this must needs be abundant encouragement with respect to finding of him. What can we desire more than the divine promise to encourage and animate us to our duty? The promises of God will most certainly be performed. "He is faithful that hath promised," Heb. xi. 11. "God that cannot lie hath promised," Titus i. 2. "There shall not one word fail of all his good promised," 1 Kings viii. 56.

2. An early seeking of CHRIST has always been attended with a finding of him. As there are promises that such shall find him, so such have been wont to find him according to the divine word and promise. It is said, 2 Chron. xv. 15. “That they sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them." There are none who have sought him with their whole desire, but have or shall find him: To be sure, if they persevere seeking of him. There are none that shall miss of Christ, who have sought him early and with their whole hearts. Ps. cxix. 10. And is not this most abundant encouragement with respect to finding Christ, to those that are early seekers of him. If the promise do not afford encouragement enough, (though that indeed is enough,) yet the performance of it certainly does: If the bare word of God does not satisfy us in the matter, yet the fulfilment of his word must needs be assurance sufficient: So that it is most full, plain and clear, that an early seeking of Christ, has a most abundant encouragement with respect to finding of him. Such a seeking of Christ hath the promise of finding him: And such a seeking of Christ has been always wont to be attended with a finding of him.

I proceed to make some brief improvement of the doctrine, in two USES. First, by way of examination. Secondly, by way of exhortation.

Use I. By way of EXAMINATION.

Let those who are in their early days, examine and see whether they have sought or do seek the Lord Jesus Christ. The most

of my hearers are in their youthful time: Young persons. You are early in seeking the world, very solicitous how you may have an outward subsistence; but are you early in seeking Christ, and Heaven? Though the former may and ought to be done, yet this latter ought not to be left undone: Yea this latter is to be sought primarily, and in the first place, Matt. vi. 33. Well, how is it with you, young people, as to this? Have a care of deceiving yourselves; multitudes do so, with respect to this momentous affair. That you may not, but may make something of a judgment with respect to this matter; let me propose a few things very briefly to your consideration.

1. Have you been made sensible of your need of Christ? You are by nature (as has already been said) without him, at a distance from him: Have you not only been convinced of this, but of the necessity you are in, of a real interest in him? I know some of you have been under considerable convictions: And I tell you all, that unless you have had a sound and thorough conviction of Christ, his being the one thing needful, your seeking of him, (whatever you may pretend to) has signified very little. Persons are not wont to seek that which they have, or which they think they are in the possession of; or which they think they do not want; nor will persons seek the Lord Jesus aright, till God by his Spirit make them sensible of their undone circumstances without him.

2. What are your desires and longings after Christ? Is this the language of your souls, None but Christ! None but Christ! Do you often express yourselves with the holy Psalmist, Ps. lxxiii. 25. Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." If this be not the frame and temper of thy soul at least in some measure and degree, your seeking of Christ (however you may please yourselves therewith) can never come under the denomination of an early seeking of him. But if the desire of thy soul be indeed after Christ: To him and to the remembrance of him," as the expression is, Isa. xxvi. 8. This is a seeking of him. A mourning and a lamenting after the Lord, is a certain token of integrity and uprightness.

3. How are you in the use of those means which tend to bring you to Christ? We read, Mark vi. 32, 33. "That when our Lord departed privately by ship to a desert place, the people that knew him, seeing it, ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent the ship and came together to him." So, if thou hast a right knowledge of him; if thou dost aright seek him, thou wilt endeavor to follow him from one duty and ordinance to another; as the zealous multitude followed him from place to place. How is it then with thee? Dost thou seek him "in secret?" Matt. vi. 6. Dost thou seek him in "his house," when thou repairest

thither? Dost thou seek him at "his table," where his death is solemnly commemorated? In these Christ is wont to be found: And his enemies had so much policy as to seek where he "frequently resorted," John xii. 2, 3. Certainly then, if thou art his friend, thou art so wise as to endeavor so to do, and especially since he commands thee so to do, John xv. 14. 1 Cor. xi. 24.

4. Art thou willing to forego and part with every thing for Christ? I mean to deny thyself of whatsoever is inconsistent with thy having of him; of whatsoever stands in competition with thy finding this pearl? Canst thou indeed say with the blessed apostle, Phil. iii. 7, 8. "But what things were gain unto me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." If thou valuest any worldly thing above him, thou dost not aright seek him: But if he be most precious to thee, and thou seekest him as such, thou wilt not seek him in vain, he will be found of thee.

5. How do you endeavor to conform yourselves to Christ? Is it your care to steer the same course that he did? Do you labor to walk even as he walked? It is a vain pretence to say you seek Christ, if you go a contrary way. It is certain you will never find him out, if you do not tread in his steps. As some quickscented creatures, in pursuing their prey, will exactly follow the track where it has gone before them; so those who do sincerely and aright pursue an interest in Christ, will be as careful to imitate him as to enjoy him. Is there the same mind in you as was in Christ? Are you followers of him as dear children? This will be, if you are sincere seekers of him, and this will denominate you such seekers of him.

6. And lastly. Are you resolved to seek him notwithstanding all the opposition and discouragements which you may meet with in this affair? Though others may deride you herefor, are you determined to say with David, 2 Sam. vi. 21, 22. "If this be to be vile, I will yet be more vile." If Christ should seem to flee from thee, and go further off the faster thou advancest towards him; if he should seem to conceal and hide himself, the more, the nearer thou pressest to him: Yet art thou resolved to go on seeking him whom thy soul loves? Yea, to seek him though it should be long ere thou find him. Go on, poor soul, thou seekest him and shalt find him. By these things, let persons who are in their early days examine and see whether they have sought, or do indeed seek the Lord Jesus Christ.

Use II. Of EXHORTATION in two words.

First, to those who are in their early days. Secondly, to those who are come to years.

Exhor. I. To those who are in their early days.

You have requested me to give you a short discourse at this time. I have not denied you. I have now a request to you, and I can take no denial: It is that you would approve yourselves early seekers of Christ. You have (as you have heard) abundant encouragement with respect to your finding him. Let me exhort and charge you to seek him presently, and not to sit down satisfied till you find him. And oh! that I knew what further argument to urge, that might possibly prevail with you to set about and persevere in this matter. God is my witness, I would do any thing within my power, to bring you to a real interest in Jesus Christ. I will just offer a few things to your consideration.

1. You are undone without an interest in Jesus Christ. You have been often told how that you are by nature in a perishing condition, and that there is salvation in no other. That there is no other name under heaven, whereby you can be saved, but that of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Acts iv. 10, 12. "He is the way, the truth, and the life," John xiv. 6. "Without Christ, and without hope," Eph. ii. 12. If you miss of him, you must go into remediless perdition. It is true, the most of you have been baptized, but alas, this of itself will not save you: Though you may pretend to a near relation to Christ, by virtue of the gospel covenant yet if you refuse to seek him, and remain unregenerate, he will say to you hereafter, as Matt. vii. 23. "I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'


2. The Lord Jesus Christ is willing to be found of you, and to bestow himself upon you. There are a multitude of texts in which we may read his unquestionable readiness to be ours, with all his benefits. See Prov. ix. 1. Isa. lv. 1. Matt. xi. 28. Isa. vi. 37. John vii. 37. Rev. xxii. 17. with many other Scriptures. Our blessed Saviour does not mock the soul in these invitations and offers: But we may depend upon the reality of them.

3. You must seek him if you would find him, and be really interested in him. It is true, we read, Isa. lvi. 1. "I am found of them that sought me not." But this does not at all exempt you from seeking of Christ. Though God prevents us with his grace, may find persons, and ofttimes does when they think little of him: Yet seeking is the way to finding, Matt. vii. 7. God seeks us first by his preventing grace, but yet he makes seeking of him a necessary medium in order to his gracious manifesting of himself to us.

4. He takes special notice how long you neglect your duty in this kind. He sets down every year, every day; yea, hour, and minute that you abide in your sins, and abuse the riches of his goodness. He therefore says, Ps. iv. 2. "O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love

vanity," &c. And cries, Prov. i. 22. "How long ye simple ones will ye love simplicity," &c. And denounceth a wo unto Jerusalem for her delaying, Jer. xiii. ult. "Wo unto thee, O Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made clean, when shall it once be?"

5. After a while (and you do not know how soon) your finding time will be over. Your harvest will be past, your summer ended. Now Christ calls you, if you will not hearken to him, you will in a little time, call and seek to him, and he will not hearken to you: That will be verified upon you, Zech. vii. 13. "Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts." I beseech you read and meditate upon that, Prov. i. 24-28. "Because I have called and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded. . . . Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but shall not find me.'

6. And lastly. Consider what you will find by finding Christ: And this is all good: It is stored up in him: By finding of him thou wilt come to be possessed of all that is desirable; of all spiritual blessings for the Father blesses us with all spiritual blessings in Christ. Thou wilt find the mercy of God, the forgiveness of sin, the consolations of the Spirit, and eternal life, by finding Christ. Prov. viii. 35. "He that findeth me findeth life." 1 John v. 12. ." He that hath the Son hath life."

Object. Possibly some of you may say, I would comply with this exhortation, but I cannot tell how to deny myself the pleasures of youth: If I set upon a seeking of Christ, I must cast away all my transgressions, else I cannot rationally hope to find him; my iniquities will separate between him and me; my sins will hide his face from me, that he will not hear: And I do not know how to part with these as yet; to flee youthful lusts.

Answ. 1. Are the pleasures of sin more dear to thee than thy precious soul? Wilt thou expose thy soul (which is of more worth than the whole world, Matt. xvi. 26.) to endless misery, "for the pleasures of sin which are but for a season?" Heb. xi. Oh! how will conscience upbraid thee hereafter? If thou art not brought off from this, how will it aggravate thy damnation in the bottomless pit? How will it rend thy heart with raging grief, to think, that for the gratifying a few lusts, you must go without God, Christ and happiness, and undergo an extremity of misery forever. This will be the certain punishment of those who will not forego, but retain their pleasant or profitable sins, even a most extreme and everlasting torment.


2. Let me assure you, that you will find better pleasure in Christ, than this you speak of, to delay your seeking of him. For his kingdom consists in righteousness and peace, and joy in the

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