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plied from what follows: "Let us drive him out." But hear the voice from heaven calling in again the wretched outcafts. The apoftle here, as one of the outcafts, manages the voice in effect thus, • Behold God, the fecond Perfon! he is become as one of us, has taken upon him our nature, to know by his own feeling in fome fort, the good we loft, the evil in which we are involved; and now, let us draw near, let us come back, come in, come forward, nay, come near; let us not only put forth, but freely stretch forth our hand, grasp, and take of the tree of life; eat freely, abundantly, and live for ever.'
O that the reverse may be carried yet farther! God fent forth the man, bade him go, but he would not: "So God drove him out." Now, God bids us draw near, but we will not come. May the Lord put forth his hand, and draw us in. But here an inquiry occurs, How near may ners come to Jesus Christ?
1. They may come into the house of God, ver. 21. "Having an High-Prieft over the house of God." When Adam finned, he was driven out of the house, as a divorced woman. The first covenant was broken; but now, that the new covenant is made, the divorced finner, who is newmarried to his Maker in Chrift, may come in again to the house. They may come to the lower house in ordinances; it is their own houfe; by that title, they may fit down at the table as in their own houfe: Ifa. lvii. 13. " He that putteth his trust in me fhall poffefs the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain." They may come to the higher house, even heaven, this is the house in the context. They will come there at death, but the text aims at a coming to it before death; and therefore, this drawing near is a fpiritual motion
upon the wings of faith, carrying the foul out of the body to heaven as its own house, because it is Chrift's houfe.
2. They come far forward in the house: Ver. 19. "Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holieft by the blood of Jefus." The temple ftood eaft and weft, the porch, or entry, being in the eaft. Without the house were the courts of the temple, in one of which flood the altar, before the porch of the houfe, in the open air. In the temple was a vail, which divided the eaft end, called "the holy place," (into which ordinary priests might go), from the weft end, called "the holieft of all," into which only the HighPriest might enter once a-year. There was the ark, with the mercy-feat and cloud of glory on it; and it was a fpecial type of the highest heavens, the high and holy place, which is the glorious dwelling of God.
Now, I fay, finners may through Chrift come far forward in the house, they may have Job's wish to come to God, even to his feat, Job, xxiii. 3. Sinners, we have an altar, a crucified Saviour; if you defire to come into the house of God, come by that altar, and welcome, there is no other way; come into the holy place; nay, come forward into the holiest of all. Stand by no means only gazing on the vail, the vail of Chrift's flefh, but come through the vail unto God, God in Chrift; come even to his feat. God is in Christ as the cloud of glory on the mercy-feat in the holiest of all; come forward through the vail of Christ's flesh, fufficiently rent and torn in his fufferings, to afford you accefs through it to God, fitting on his mercy-feat in Chrift, that you may be refreshed and comforted, your fouls fatisfied and fanctified with breathingsof his love, with peace, and good-will from thence, VOL. II.
even through the wounds of our Redeemer. If this do not kindle in you a defire to draw near, what can we fay to kindle it?
I told you laft Sabbath, that you may draw near to God in Chrift, and that you ought to draw near, &c. Is there any here who fo love their outcaft condition, that they will not come back, nor draw near to God, though they are invited? Then I must leave you, to fpeak to others. But, before we part, confider,
1. What a miserable state you are in while far from God. As God faid to Adam, Gen. iii. 9. we may fay to you, "Where art thou?" Like the prodigal, Luke, xv. 13. thou art in a far country, far from God, his covenant, his grace, his Chrift, Eph. ii. 12. And while you will not come back, you are far out of your fenfes. Tell me, finner, in fober earnest, (if you be capable of a sober thought), Are you not in want? Is there not a principle of reftleffness in that foul of thine, which thou canft find no way to quiet, but sometimes by the fulfome breasts of lufts which may furfeit, but at no time can fatisfy? The dry breafts of the world, fqueeze them as you will, can never give full content, ftill there is fome thorn of uneafinefs in your bed, make it where you will. Thou doft hunger after happiness, but fhalt never find it till thou come near to God in Chrift.--Consider,
2. If thou art able to hold on to the end without coming near to God. Though thou canft live this way, wilt thou be able to die in this state, and continue fo for ever? Art thou ftill able to make thy part good without him, yea, against him, fo that thou art refolved never to knock at his door? If not, thou art wretchedly foolish, to flight a kind invitation from him, to whom at length thou muft bow. Therefore, Ifa. Iv. 6. "Seek ye the Lord,
while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near."-Confider,
3. If thou wilt not draw near now, the time will come, when God will drive thee from him with a vengeance, and will give thee thy heart's fill of distance from him for ever: Matth. xxv. 41. “Then shall he say to them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye curfed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Now he bids thee draw near, and thou wilt not; this voice will draw to an end with thee, and thou wilt hear that other voice, Depart from me; and thou must go, though thou wouldst gladly stay. As, then, you would not be forced to depart for ever, draw near to God now, while he is drawing near to you.-Confider,
Laftly, That the accefs to God, now in your offer, will make your departure from him to hell the more dreadful: Matth. xi, 24. "It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgement, than for you." Ye are guilty of a fin of which heathens are not capable, nay, which devils cannot commit it. They departed, but they never got a call to come back again. It was never faid to them, Let us draw near. There is a way opened at the expence of the blood of Chrift, for you to come back to God, and therefore your neglecting to improve it must be inexcufeable.
But now, as for you who defire to draw near to God, ye have a fair occasion at all times for it, there is a ready way from earth to heaven, through Chrift, wherever you are. You have a special occafion at this time in the holy facrament, an ordinance in which the Lord comes very near to his people, in which the greatest nearnefs may be enjoyed. The facraments and death refemble one another. In the former, the Lord comes to us, Y 2 in
in death we go to him. We should labour fo to manage the former, as that a fure foundation may be laid for fafety and comfort in the latter. Here God appears on a throne of grace in Chrift, the vail of Chrift's flesh appears facramentally rent, that you through it may draw near to God. And you must by faith pass through the vail this day, that you may get forward even to his feat, drawing near him as rebels accepting the King's peace, the offered indemnity through the blood of his Son, drawing near as fupplicants, as fervants of the house, to ferve our Lord, to wait upon him, and behold his glory.
In thefe circumftances, your question, I prefume, will now be, How fhall we fo manage this approach, as that it may be fuccessful for the honour of God, our foul's good for time and eternity? If you manage right, you are made up for ever, and therefore your mifmanagement will be an unspeakable lofs. I fhall farther explain unto you the apostle's directions in the text. I fear the hints already given to you as to the nature of drawing near to God, may not be fufficient to clear you in this matter; therefore, that ye may not walk in the dark, know plainly, in a word, that we draw near to God by faith, and our believing in God is our drawing near to him. Hence the apostle's advice in the text is not, Come in by faith, for this is the very coming itself, but, fays he, "in full affurance of faith." So the fcripture explains it, while it fhews that that coming to the Lord, which is fo much preffed on finners in the Old and New Testament, is believing: John, vi. 35. "And Jefus faid unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh unto me shall never hunger, he that believeth on me fhall never thirst." How does the finner depart from God, but by unbe