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tremble. You are not called to draw near to him as fuch. Indeed fome prefumptuous finners will, like beafts, touch the mountain; but darts of wrath will ftrike through their confciences, and drive them back at length. But you are to draw near to God, as on his throne of grace, in Christ.
2. There is a way to the throne never trode, nor designed to be trode, by any but finners such as you, and the like of you. This is no backentry, but the moft glorious way to the throne. Adam had a way to it, but that is blocked up; there is a new and living way confecrated for us, Heb. x. 20. And may we not draw near by it? It lies through the vail of Chrift's flesh, and leads into the holieft, the feat of God! It is a way paved with glory to God, peace on earth, and goodwill to men. It will vail all your weakneffes, wants, and blemishes; yea, it vails the fiery law, wraps it up out of fight; it vails the fword of juftice. The fmiles of a reconciled God fhine through it, to revive and refresh the hearts of the guilty.
3. He is a friend of ours who is fet over the houfe of God: Heb. x. 21. "And having an High-Prieft over the house of God," that is, Jefus Chrift. He was taken out from among us, being "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flefh." Pfal. lxxxix. 19. "Thou fpakeft in vifion to thy Holy One, and faidft, I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chofen out of the people." He is for us, in things pertaining to God, to employ his power and intereft for us in the court of heaven. He bears the keys of the houfe, and admits whom he will, gives them what he will, brings as far forward as he will: John, v. 22. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement to the Son." And he is a Priest, a High-Prieft, who will take all our fer
vices, wash away all their pollution, and offer them for us with the much incenfe of his merits terceffion. We now proceed,
III. To fhew, that we ought to draw near: Let us draw near.--For,
1. It is the command of God: James, iv. 8. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." God commands run-aways to return, and draw near to him. He commands returning finners to come forward, and come near him. He gives them no thanks for standing afar off. Though he can bear with them long, yet he is not pleased when a sense of fin makes poor fenfible finners ftand off from him as affrighted at him. His fatherly bowels yearn toward them: Luke, XV. 20. "And he arofe, and came to his father; but when he was yet a great way off, his father faw him, and had compaffion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kiffed him."
2. If we do not draw near to God, we difhonour his Son, and fo difhonour himself, in fo far as we frustrate the great defign of the mystery of Chrift: John, v. 23. "That all men fhould honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which fent him." Eph. ii. 13. 14. "But now in Chrift Jefus, ye who fometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Chrift. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle-wall of partition between us." So far as we ftand afar off from God, we difhonour the friendship of God, the blood of the Son of God in its efficacy and virtue, while we dare not truft ourselves in the new and living way, and under the covert of the Redeemer's blood.We now proceed,
IV. To a practical improvement of the subject, in an use of exhortation.
Let us, then, draw near to God. Return, finners, and come back to God, ye who have gone away from him; and having come back, come forward to him in Christ, come forward even to his feat; the nearer you come the better, and always the nearer the more welcome.
Come back, finners, draw near towards God and duty. What have you gained by going from him? Satan, the world, and lufts, made you fair promises to get you away from God. But what have you made of your rambling, wandering life through the mountains of vanity? You have got a restleffness in your hearts, a blindness in your minds, a deadness in your affections to what is good. You have got your lufts ftrengthened, and a confcience full of guilt and ftings, when you feriously reflect. Our Lord is ready to take runaways home again: Jer. iii. 1. " Return again to me, faith the Lord." Ver. 22. "Return, ye backfliding children, and I will heal your backflidings. Behold, we come unto me, for thou art the Lord our God." He is again cafting open the doors of his house to receive backfliders; nay, his arms of love and mercy are ready to receive you. you. Come back, then, fmiting on your breaft, as grieved for that backfliding heart of yours; fmiting on your thigh, as grieved at thofe wandering feet of yours, which have not continued in the paths of righteoufnefs.
2. Not only draw towards God, but come forward, and draw near to him as a God in Christ. You may get near him ere you come to heaven; in his ordinances in the lower house, there you may have accefs to him. Particularly, let us draw near him,
In prayer: Heb. iv. 16. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." This should be a praying time with us, a time of wrestling for the bleffing. It may be you have not neglected the form of prayer; but though God was near you in your mouth, yet perhaps he was far from your reins. But pray now, and draw near in prayer, prefs forward even unto his feat, with the arms of faith and love. Many have got very near him in that exercise; they have broke the fhell on which many gnaw all their days, while they are never the better, and they have got into the kernel; like Jacob, they have fucceeded: "He had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made fupplication unto him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us."
Draw near in the holy facrament of the supper. God is again coming to us in that ordinance; an ordinance appointed for the most special nearness out of heaven: 1 Cor. x. 16. "The cup of bleffing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Chrift? the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Chrift?" Here we may facramentally touch his precious body and blood, and feed upon it. Oh! let us be fure to meet him there; he will not break the appointment. Let us draw near, draw by the vail with the hand of faith; whatever be betwixt him and us, let us closely unite with God in his Son, and come even to his feat, come forward, for we will be welcome. But if we abide in the outward court, contenting ourselves with the bare elements, better we fit not down at this table.-Let us draw near in these ordinances,
1. As rebels accepting the King's peace, inX 3
demnity in the blood of his Son; draw near, and welcome: Ifa. xxvii. 5." Let him take hold of my ftrength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me." He holds forth the golden fceptre to thee, though thou defervedft the iron rod. Start not back by unbelief. If it be too much for thee to expect when thou lookeft to thyself, it is not too much for him to give; for he is infinite in goodness, and the blood of Chrift purchased it for the undeserving; and the price of blood will not be kept back. Then, let us draw yet nearer,
2. As petitioners to the King. While God fits on the throne of his grace, he says to all who have accepted his peace, as Ahafuerus did to Efther, "What is thy petition, and it fhall be granted thee?" Let us not, then, flight the season of petitioning. Be fenfible of your foul-wants; labour to get defires of supply wrought in your hearts by the Spirit of Chrift. And draw near with your petitions as particular as you can make them. Come, and welcome; though there be blots in them, they will be accepted out of the Mediator's hand. Nay more,
3. Draw near as fervants of the house, to ferve our Lord, to wait upon him, and behold his glory: Pfal. cxvi. 16. " O Lord, truly I am thy fervant; I am thy fervant, and the fon of thine handmaid: thou haft loofed my bonds," Rev. xxii. 3. " And his fervants fhall ferve him. And they fhall fee his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads." Though our ragged garments are very unlike our Mafter's honour, yet he allows us a livery in which to appear, of which we need not be afhamed, and which will cover all our filthy rags. He gives us white raiment, that we may be clothed, that the fhame of our nakedness do not appear, Rev.