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tree to see Jesus pass by, Luke xix. If Christ had not called him down, the poor rich publican was as like as'any in the company to have let Christ pass on in his journey. When Saul was going his wicked journey, Acts ix, who would have thought that grace would have fallen on him as it did! All partakers of grace, that can remember its first visit, can witness, that their finding of grace was a mere casualty to them. They thought not of it, they sought it not; yet it found them, and was found by them: Isa. Ixv. 1. I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not. Seeking is our duty, and finding is our mercy; but both right seeking, and gracious finding, are singly owing to his grace. The apostle, after a deep discourse of the sovereignty of God in dispensing his grace, saith, Rom. ix. 30, 31. What shall we say then? That the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is. of faith; but Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. The cause of Israel's missing righteousness, he gives verse 32. Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law; for they did not build and believe on Christ as a foundation, but stumbled at him as a stumbling-stone. A most dread
of ruin, for men to break their necks on the Saviour. But the apostle gives no cause why the Gentiles attained the righteousness of faith ; but his discourse hints it plainly. Grace sent the gospel to them, and grace blessed it to them, in working faith in them; by the which they laid hold on the righteousness offered to them; and so they were possessed of it, and saved by that possession.
APPLICATION. Should we come to the throne of grace for grace? Then, Ist, I infer, That every man should pray. Have you
found grace already ? Come for more; for more grace is needed by you, and more is to be had from the giver. It is a blessed name of God, much to be called upon by us, James iv. 6. He giveth more grace. It is much that he giveth any grace at all ; but more, that he still gives more. If he gives more and more grace, you should come more and more for this more grace. If you have never received grace, you Vol. I.
must come to this throne of grace, where only it is to be found. This text hath a strong argument in it, as well as a great encouragement. Are men invited to the throne of grace, that they may find grace? Then surely graceless folks should mainly come, and have most need to come.
You will say, that the prayer of the wicked man is on abomination to the Lord. True ; what then? Therefore, say you, I should not pray. A bad inference. But say you, Were it not better that a man should mend and grow better, and then come, and not till then ? This is a perverse method, that Satan befools multitudes with. I pray you, how long may a man be a-mending himself, ere he be one bit better, till the grace of God come and mend him? A sinner never doth know truly his badness, till he see it incurable by all his own doings, and that it is only curable by sovereign grace. Men see a little of the fruits of sin in their walk; and them, or some of them, they think they may remove; and so indeed they may. But the fountain remains still, and will send forth its streams one way or other. Till a man see his heart and nature, he seeth but the outside of sin in himself. It is the sight of sin in our nature, of sin as our nature, that is truly humbling. Then a man geeth himself quite lost, and for ever undone, without any possible ground of hope, unless almighty free grace undertake for him. In answer to this objection, in all its strength, I say
1. Coming to the throne of grace for grace, is required by God. He commands it as a piece of honour to him, that all should implore his grace. No sinful or miserable circumstances can be in the condition of any out of hell, that can dise solve mens obligations to this duty. The power of sin and guilt on an ungodly man, disables him quite from the right performance of any command of God, but doth not loose the obligation of God's law upon his conscience. You are bound to pray ; you cannot pray. This is your strait ; own it. Grace can only extricate you out of it.
2. Secure neglect of prayer, is a great deal worse than a faulty managing of it. Let such folks say then, I will pray, and try to pray: and though I should mar twenty prayers,
will pray still; for it is better to try it as we can, than to ne glect it quite. What know you but grace may come in, and help you, when sinking under the weight of prayer ?
3. Is not that a good prayer, and fit for your case, Luke xi. 1. Lord, teach us to pray? « Lord teach us to come the right way
to the throne of grace ?" If you can say no more, say that, and you can say nothing better. An humble groaning to Christ, to be taught by him to pray, hath more of true prayer in it, than many fine words, which men call prayer, and commend as brave praying.
4. Is it not a throne of grace you are called to come to, that ye may
find grace? You want grace, and cannot come, say ye; You want grace, and therefore come, say I. You are not to bring grace of your own working, but to find it of his giving at this throne. Would you have grace ? Come, and get it.
it. Men perish under the gospel only for their refusing of the grace of God. And justly are they counted refuse ers of grace, that will not come where it is to be found : and most righteous is their condemnation.
Inference 2. Should we come to the throne of grace, that we may find grace? Then prayerless people are graceless people. Grace is only to be had at this throne ; therefore such as have no business at the throne of grace, are a graceless people. A prayerless person is a graceless person ; a prayerless family is a graceless family, and London would be a graceless city, and England a graceless kingdom, if there were no seekers of God in them. But blessed be God, there are a great many. The Lord make them an hundred times more, and that our eyes may see it, as Joab said to David about numbering of Israel, 2 Samuel xxiv. 3. Jer. X. 25. Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name. Heathens that know not God, and families that call not on his name, are the same sort of folks, and the same wrath of God hangs over them. Wrath overtakes all that have not found grace
at this throne. Inference 3. It follows also, that the most diligent pliers of the throne of grace, are the greatest receivers of grace: and the greatest receivers of grace, are the greatest comers to, and users of the throne of
Would ye try the measures of
grace received ? Try it by your diligence in praying. Some would fain know how it is with their souls. Here is a short, plain, and sure mark to judge it by. How goes the work of praying? It is a better mark, than you increase in light and knowledge of the letter of gospel-truth; better than to try yourselves by your public duties, and attendance upon all outward ordinances. It is impossible, that a man can be diligent, painful, and serious in plying of the throne of grace, but there will be grace found, more or less, of one sort or other. Every one must say with the Psalmist, Psal. lxxiii. 28. But it is good for me to draw near to God; and the oftener the better. He hath not said to us, that we should seek his face in vain, Isa. xlv. 19. And none of the seekers of his face dare say, that they do seek him in vain, unless in a fit of temptation, when they lie against their right. It is also as impossible that the work of grace can prosper, when this high-way is unoccupied, as Deborah sings, Judges v. 6. That Christian that lets grass grow on the road betwixt him and heaven, rottenness is entering into his bones, a consumption is coming on upon his soul, and the holy flesh is passed from him, as Jer. xi. 15. The savour and relish the soul finds in approaching to the throne of grace, is the surest test of soul-prospering. In this I appeal to the consciences of all that ever knew communion with God. Is it not best with you every way, when you are most with him? Do not your burdens grow light, when you cast them on the Lord ? Is not your path plain, when his candle shineth upon you ; and deth it not shine when you are much in company? Difficulties evanish, and hard work grows easy, when the Lord is with you, and you with him. See how the apostle joins things together, Jude, ver. 20, 21. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Your faith, your love, your hope, are all to be acted in prayer : and are cherished by prayer, and strengthened by the answer of prayer. Would you have plenty of the grace of God ? Here is a plain and sure way taught you by the apostle ; and he joins himself with them he exhorts, Let us come to the throne of grace, that we may find grace.
Heb. iv. 16.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may
abtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. THE gracious call and invitation contained in this text, hath been often spoke to: an invitation frequently delivered in the preaching of the gospel, and as frequently slighted by most of the hearers of the gospel. It is such an invitation, as if it were delivered in the last day to the miserable company on Christ's left hand, we may think what complying with it would there be. If there were a throne of grace set up then for but one hour, where mercy and grace might be had in that time of need, think ye not that there would be coming and crowding, crying and roaring, for mercy and grace ? But that day will afford no such privilege. Now you have it; and the Lord knows, and next to him your consciences know, how this is entertained. What this throne of
grace is ;
what ing to it is; what boldness in coming is allowed; what ground there is for this boldness, have been spoke to. The last thing in this verse, what blessings may be had by coming, hath been spoke to also ; of the mercy to be obtained, and of the grace to be found. Of this last I have handled two things. 1. What is the grace that is to be found ? 2. What the phrase of finding grace imports ?
There are two things more that remain in the text:
I. The helpfulness of this grace. We are called to come to find grace to help.
II. The seasonableness of this help of grace. It is grace to help in time of need. So our translation carries it, and pretty well. The original runs in fewer words, grace unto seasonable help, or help in due season.
Of these two I would speak at this time.
I. I would speak of the helpfulness of grace. God's gracę is a most helpful blessing: