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runs, as Luke vii. 37, 39.) The deepest, profoundest adoration of the glorious majesty of God, is performed by a selfcondemned sinner, pleading at this throne for the obtaining of the sovereign free grace of God. Lastly, It is called a throne, because grace reigns and is enthroned here : Rom. v. 21. Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Blessed reign! and blessed are all that are under the reign and dominion of the grace of God. Sin reigns through the unrighteousness of the first Adam unto eternal death, if men be let alone, and if grace do not break this reign of sin. And grace reigns through the righteousness of the second Adam unto eternal life. And nothing can dethrone grace; it will prevail, and reach its end, eternal life, in all it falls upon. O that captives to Satan, and slaves to sin and the law, would long to be under the reign of this stately power, the
of God! and that believers themselves would give a more free and large subjection to it!
2. It is called a throne of grace, 1st, Because
grace erected and reared it up : Psal. Ixxxix. 2. Mercy shall be built up for ever. Nothing but grace and mercy framed the throne of grace. I may allude to the Lord's stately words to Job, chap. xxxviii. 4, 5, 6. speaking of the first creation, (but this throne of grace was fixed before, as the King himself saith, Prov. viii. 23. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was ), Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? --and, Who laid the corner-stone thereaf? No creature was on the council ; it is a divine contrivance. But, now it is revealed, our faith, on the ground of this revelation, may, and should go back, and take a refreshing view of this eternal contrivance. The Lord builds a house of mercy, that a company of sinners may
dwell in, with him, for ever. What laid the corner-stone of this throne, but grace? What brings in the inhabitants, preserves them, and perfects them, but grace? For whom is it prepared, and by whom shall this house of mercy be possessed, and with whom shall it be filled, but with vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. Rom. ix. 23.
2dly, It is called a throne of grace, because grace hath here, and here only, a glorious display and discovery. Till men get
a sight of God in Christ, they cannot tell what the grace of God is. Search heaven and earth, you can never get a view of God's grace, till ye come to this throne. You may see God's infinite power, and wisdom, and goodness, written in great characters, in the great volume of creation and providence; but till ye come to know God in Christ on this throne, you can never see that divine dainty, and saving blessing, the free grace of God; grace, as an everlasting fountain in the heart of God, pouring down, streaming forth eternal salvation on ruined unworthy sinners. Men should make a visit to the throne of grace, if they had no other errand but to get a sight of this precious thing, the grace of God. A right sight of it is saving. Believers should long to be in heaven, if they had no other errand, than to see the spring-head of that flood of grace that came down from heaven, to drag them out of hell, and to draw them up to heaven.
3dly, It is called a throne of grace, because all the acts and sentences passed at this new court, are all acts of the blessings given from this throne, are all of mere grace. Nothing is here but grace : John i. 17. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Was there no grace nor truth under the law ? Yes, a great deal; but it all belonged to Jesus Christ. There was grace under the law, but none but what related to Jesus Christ. There was truth under the law, but only as Christ was pointed at; otherwise all were but vain and beggarly rudiments, and empty dark shadows. The Jews see nothing of Christ in the Old Testament, and therefore find neither the saving mercy nor saving truth of God in it. And it is much worse with men (Christians I cannot call them) that see as little of Christ in the New Testament. Take the chain of salvation, and all the links of it, as the apostle names them, Rom. viii. 29, 30. and all of them are of grace.
We are chosen by grace; we are given to Christ by grace; redeemed by him by grace; by grace we are justified through that redemption ; by the same grace we are adopted ; by the same grace we are saved, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; and by grace we shall be glorifed. And they that will not claim these blessings, and hold them by this tenor of free grace,
I dare not say that they shall never have them, ffor this grace can overcome its greatest enemies); but I may say, that they have at present no part or portion in this matter; and when they come to partake of grace, and to know the grace of God in truth, as Col. i. 6. they will be of another mind, and count it the best tenor to hold all by, even by free grace : yea, after all the riches of grace poured forth on believers in this life, when they come to receive the crown of glory, they receive it as humbly, yea more than they did any former act of grace from this throne. The overcomer by the blood of the Lamb, will receive the crown from his glorious Redeemer, as humbly, and with owning it as a gift of grace, as much as ever he did receive a pardon in that blood, when his head was on the block, and the ax of law and justice lifted up to cut him off for his iniquity. There may be proud pleaders for (or rather presumers and expecters of) the crown of glory, but no proud receivers of it. We must look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, Jude, ver. 21. Merit and worth are only for hell; and they have no room in heaven, nor in the way to it. Justice reigns in hell, and grace in heaven. So all will find that come to heaven; and so must they all know and believe that would be there. Sinners that are for merit, will find it sadly in hell. Mens merit makes hell, and Christ's merit makes heaven, Rom. vi. 23.
4thly, It is called a throne of grace, because the glory of grace is the last and highest end of the building of this throne, and of all the acts of grace dispensed at it, and from it. That proud monarch spoke vainly and wickedly, Dan. iv. 30. and was quickly by God punished severely for his sin. If we may be allowed to allude to such words, we may say of the throne of grace, Is it not that high throne that God hath built for the house of his kingdom, by the might of his power, and for the honour of the majesty of his grace? Are any chosen in Christ, and predestinated to the adoption of children by him? It is to the praise of the glory of his grace, Eph. i. 4, 5, 6. Do they believe by grace? It is to the praise of his glory, ver. 12. Are they seada td, and at last possessed of heaven? That is to the praise of his glory, ver. 14. Are they quickened when dead in sin, and advanced in and by Christ Jesus ? This is to the praise of his
grace, Eph. ii. 4, 7. All the blessings in time and eternity that the heirs of grace enjoy, are all to the praise and glory of that grace they spring from. We read in the word of none of the counsels of God before the creation of all things, but of his purpose of saving a company of poor sinful men by Jesus Christ ; and of no other design in this purpose, but to magnify his grace in saving of them this way. So much of the signification of this word, a throne of grace.
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III. What is it to come unto this throne of grace?
Though the prosecuting of the exhortation in this text will open up the nature of this coming more fully, yet I would speak somewhat of it in this place.
1. This coming implies a state of distance from this throne in them that are called to come. This is called being far off, Eph. ii. 13. And this state all men by nature are in. Men are in God's eye and hand: He is not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being, Acts xvii. 27, 28.; as the psalmist speaks excellently in Psalm cxxxix. of the nearness of men to God, and of his omnipresence and omniscience. But his gracious presence, as on a throne of grace, is far from all men by nature, and they far from it. This presence is far from man's knowledge ; there is no knowing of it but by revelation : far from mens attainment ; for no man can come, unless he be drawn of God, John vi. 44. : far from their experience, and far from their love ; for they are alienated from the life of God, Eph. iv. 18. And in his favour is life, Psal. xxx. 5. and in nothing else.
2. It is also implied in this call to come, that there is a gracious provision made and revealed by God for the removal and making up of his distance, and getting of a gracious nearness to God. This is in the constitution and revelation of
this throne of grace.
3. That the improving of this provision is mens duty, and should be their exercise, in order to possess and enjoy the privilege and advantage of this provision.
What then is this coming to the throne of grace?
1. It is in believing on Jesus Christ. This is the first approach to the throne of grace. He is the propitiation, and
mercy-seat, and throne of grace, 1 John iv. 10. Believing on him, is coming to him, John vi. 35. It is coming to the Father by him, John xiv. 6. It is believing on God by him, 1 Pet. i. 21. It is believing on him, and on him that sent him, John xii. 44. B:lieving on Jesus Christ, is an employing of Christ in way of trust, as to all his fulness of grace, and our utter indigence thereof. Whatever a man do, whatever exercises of religion he be taken up in, he never comes to the throne of grace, till his heart and soul go forth towards Jesus Christ for righteousness and life. The first right step heavenward, is saving faith in Christ. Nothing savingly good can precede it, and all saving good follows it: for faith unites the man to Christ, and all the fruits of holiness and righteousness spring from the virtue of the vine Christ; with whom the believer hath first union by grace, and then communion of Christ's grace, by which he lives, and works, and grows.
2. Coming to this throne, is acted in all acts of gospel-worship, and in the use of all gospel-ordinances. They all belong to the throne of grace, are the institutions of this throne, and appointed as means wherein we should approach to it; and which, when blessed by the appointer of them, do convey to us the blessings of this throne. Of then there are several. 1. Prayer. This is coming to the throne of grace, if rightly managed. Though asking is not expressed in this verse, yet it is strongly implied, both in the commanded coming, and in the expressed obtaining of mercy, and finding of grace to help in time of need. All that make a fashion of prayer, do not come to the ihrone of grace; yet all that pray rightly, do come to it. And because this approaching to the throne of grace by and in prayer, is plainly hinted in the text, and is so commonly understood by Christians, I would have my eye principally upon it in
it in handling this scripture. 2. There is the word read, preached, and meditated on, that is another principal means in which men should approach to the throne of grace. In prayer we pour out our heart before this throne, and express our desires to him that sitteth on it. In the word the King on this throne delivers his will and mind to us; and we should come to hear it, and receive the law from his mouth. Cornelius expressed an excellent frame for this ordinance, Acts