AMONGST all the duties I formerly mentioned, I omitted one that I look upon as chief and choice of all the rest. This is the duty I call Looking unto JESUS; and if I must discover the occasion of my falling on it, I shall do it truly and plainly. In the spring of 1653, I was visited with a sore sickness; and as the Lord began to restore my health, it came into my Thoughts what JESUS had done for my soul, and what he was doing, and what he would do for it, till he saved it to the uttermost. In my conceptions of these things, I could find no beginning of his actings, but in that eternity before the world was made; nor could I find any end of his actings, but in that eternity after the world should be unmade; only between these two extremities, I apprehended various transactions of JESUS CHRIST, both past, and present, and to come. Inn the multitude of these Thoughts within me, my soul exceedingly delighted itself, and that delight stirring up in me other affections, I began to consider those texts in Scripture which seemed to impose the working of my affections on so blessed an object as a gospel duty. Then I resolved, if the Lord JESUS would but restore my health, and prolong my life, I would endeavor to discover more of this gospel duty than ever yet I knew./And that my pains herein might not hinder my other necessary labors, my purpose was to fall on this subject in my ordinary preaching, wherein I might have occasion both to search into Scripture, several authors, and my own heart.
In process of time I began this work, begging of GOD that he would help me to finish, as he inclined me to begin, and that all might tend to his glory, and the church's good. In the progress of my labors, I found a world of spiritual comfort, both in respect to the object that I' handled, JESUS CHRIST, and in respect of the act wherein consisted my duty to him, in "looking unto JESUS.
1. For the object, it was the very subject whereon more especially I was bound to preach, " CHRIST in Thou the hope of glory," (said Paul to his Colossians;) and he immediately adds, "Whom we preach," Col. 1: 27, 28; and "unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, is this grace given." What grace "That I should preach, among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of CHRIST," Eph. 3: 8. Ministers ought in duty more abundantly to preach. JESUS CHRIST. And I may feelingly say, it is the sweetest subject that ever was preached on. is it not "as an ointment poured forth," whose smell is so fragrant,, and whose savor is so sweet, that "therefore all the virgins, love him" Is it. not comprehensive of all glory, beauty and excellency, whether of things in heaven or. things on earth Is it not a mystery sweet and deep
Surely volumes are written of JESUS CHRIST; there is line uponn line, sermon upon sermon, book upon book; and yet, such is the mystery, that we are all but as yet at the first side of the catechism of JESUS CHRIST. Solomon was but at " What is his name" And I fear many of us know neither name nor thing. It is a worthy study to make further and further discoveries, of this blessed mystery; and it were to be wished, that all the ministers of CHRIST would spend themselves in the spelling, and reading, and understanding of it. As some great point does deserve the abilities of many scholars, (and all little enough when joined together,) to make a discovery thereof; such is this high point, this holy, glorious mystery, worthy of the pains of all the learned; and if they would all bring their notes together, and add all their studies together, they should- find still but a little of this mystery known, in comparison of what remains unknown.
2. For the act of looking unto JESUS, as it is comprehensive of knowing, hoping, believing, loving, so also of. joying. How then should I but be filled with joy unspeakable and glorious,, whilst I was studying, writing, and especially acting my soul in the exercise of this looking. If there be any duty on earth resembling the duties of the saints in heaven, I dare say, it is this. Mr. Rutherford writeth thus, " An act of living in CHRIST, and on CHRIST, in the acts of seeing, enjoying, embracing, loving,. resting on him, is that noon-day divinity, and theology of beatifical vision. There is a general assembly of immediately illuminated Divines about the throne, who study, lecture, preach, praise CHRIST night and day.-Oh! what rays, what dartings of intellectual fruition, beholding, enjoying, and living in him, come from that face, that God-visage of the Lord GOD Almighty, and of the Lamb that is in. the midst of them. And, oh! what reflections, and reachings forth of intellectual vision, embracing, loving, wondering, are returning back to him in a circle of glory. Now if this be the saints' duty, who are perfect in glory; do we
not imitate them, and feel something of heaven in our imitation, in our looking also unto JESUS I write what in some measure I have felt; and of. which I hope to feel yet more; and therefore whoever Thou art that readest, I beseech thee, come, warm thy heart at this blessed fire! Oh! come, and smell the precious ointments of JESUS CHRIST! Oh 1 come, and sit down under his shadow with great delight'! Oh! that all men, (especially those into whose hands this book shall come,) would presently fall upon-the practice of this gospel art of looking unto JESUS! If herein they find nothing of heaven, my skill will fail me; only let them pray, that as they look to him, so virtue may proceed out of him, and fill their souls.
Reader, one thing more I have to say to thee. If Thou wouldst know how to carry on this duty constantly, as Thou dost thy morning and thy-evening prayer, it were not amiss if every day, either morning or evening, Thou wouldst take some part of it at one time, and some part of it at another time, at least for some space of time together. I know some, that in aa constant daily course carry, on in secret those two necessary duties of meditation and prayer.’What the subject matter of this meditation is,1I am not very certain; only our experience can tell us, that be it heaven or be it hell; be it sin or be it grace, or be it what it may; if we are in exercise of the self-same subject either constantly, or frequently, we are apt to grow remiss, or cold, or formal; and the reason is, one thing tires quickly, unless, that one be all. Now that is CHRIST, for he is-• all, Col. 3: 11. If then but once a day Thou wouldst make this JESUS CHRIST thy subject to know, consider, desire, believe, joy in, call upon, and conform unto, in his several respects of performing thy redemption, in his birth, life, death, resurrection, assension; session, intercession, and coming again; and that one of these particulars might be thy one day's exercise, and so every day Thou wouldst proceed from first to last, in thus looking unto JESUS, I suppose Thou wouldst never tire thyself. And why so There is variety in this matter to be looked unto, and there is variety in the manner of looking on it. For instance: one day Thou might consider thy knowing of JESUS: the next day Thou might meditate on JESUS in that respect; and the next day Thou might desire after JESUS in that respect; and the next day Thou might hope in JESUS in that respect; and so on, till Thou comest to the last day of the work. Now would not this variety delight It is the observation of Mr. Lockyer, on Col. 1: 16, that a holy soul cannot tire itself in the contemplation of JESUS. How much less can it tire itself in looking unto JESUS, which is far more comprehensive than contemplating. JESUS Come, try this duty, and be constant in it at least one year, and so every year during thy life;. and their for thy meditations on any other subject I shall not takethee quite off, but leave the remainder of the year to thy own choice. If Thou art so resolved, I shall say no more,. but the Lord be with thee; and if sooner or later. thoir findest any benefit by this work, give GOD the glory, and` remember him, in thy prayers, who has taken this pains for CHRIST's honor, and thy soul's good. So rests thy servant in CHRIST JESUS.
LOOKING UNTO JESUS:
THE SOUL'S EYING JESUS
AS CARRYING ON THE GREAT WORK OAF MAN'S SALVATION..
THE FIRST. BOOK. T
HEB. 2: 2. Looking unto JESUS, the beginner and finisher of our faith.
CHAP. 1: The Division and Opening of the Words.
THE most excellent subject to discourse, or write of,, is JESUS CHRIST. Augustine having read Cicero's_ works, commended them for their eloquence, but he passed this sentence upon them, "They are not sweet, because the name of JESUS is not in them." Indeed all we say is unsavory, if it be not seasoned with this salt. " I determined not to know any thing among Thou, (says Paul,) save JESUS CHRIST, and him crucified." He resolved with himself, before he preached among the Corinthians, that this should be the only point of knowledge that he would profess himself to have skill in, and which, in the course of his ministry, he would labor to bring them to. This he made the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of-his knowledge. " Yea, doubtless, (says he,) and I count all, things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of CHRIST JESUS my Lord." In this knowledge of CHRIST there is an excellency of all other knowledge in the world. There is nothing more pleasing and comfortable, more animating and enlivening. CHRIST is the sum and centre of all Divine and revealed truths. We can preach nothing else -as the object of our -faith, which does not some way or other either meet in CHRIST, or refer to CHRIST. Only CHRIST is the whole of man's happiness; the sun to enlighten him, the physician to heal him, the wall of fire to defend him, the friend to comfort him, the pearl to enrich him, the ark to support him, the rock to sustain him under the heaviest pressures; " As an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.", Only CHRIST is that ladder between earth and heaven; the. Mediator between GOD and man; a mystery which the angels of heaven desire to pry into. Here is a. blessed subject indeed: Who would not be glad to be acquainted with it "This is life eternal, to know GOD, and JESUS CHRIST whom he has sent." - Come, then! let us look on this Sun of Righteousness; we cannot receive harm, but good bysucb a look. Indeed, by looking long on the natural s we may have our eyes dazzled, and our faces blackened; but by looking unto JESUS, we shall have our eyes made clearer,, and our faces fairer. If "the light of the eye rejoice the heart," how much more when we have such a blessed object to look upon! As CHRIST is more excellent thanall the world, so this sight transcends all other sights. Looking unto JESUS is the epitome of a Christian's happiness, the quintessence of evangelical duties,
In the text we have the act and object. The act in the original is very emphatical, *, the English does not fully express it; it signifies a drawing of the eye from one object to another; there are two expressions, and *; the one signifies a turning of the eye from all other objects; the other a fast fixing of the eye upon such an object, and only upon such. So is it but a looking off, and a looking on. On what That is the object, a looking unto JESUS; a title that denotes his mercy, as CHRIST denotes his office. My meaning is not to insist on this name in contradiction to any other names of CHRIST. He is often called CHRIST, and Lord, and Mediator, and Son of GOD, and Emmanuel: but JESUS is all these. JESUS is CHRIST, as he is the anointed of God; and. JESUS is Lord, as he has dominion over all the world; and JESUS is Mediator, as he is the reconciler of GOD and man; and JESUS is the Son of GOD, as he was eternally begotten before all worlds; and JESUS is Emmanuel, as he was incarnate, and so GOD with_ us. Only because JESUS signifies Savior, and this was given him upon that very account; " For he shall save his people from their sins;" I shall make this my design to look at JESUS more especially, as carrying on the great work of our salvation from first to last. This indeed is the glad tidings, the gospel, the gospel privilege, and our gospel duty, looking unto JESUS.
The Duty of looking of all other Things con jrna.ed and cleared.
BUT first we must lookoff all other' things. We must take off our minds from every thing which might divert us in our Christian race from looking unto JESUS. But what things are they which we must look off in this respect I answer; l. Good things.’2. Evil things. 1. Good things. The apostle tells us of a cloud of
witnesses -in the former verse, which no question in their season we are to look unto. But when this second object comes in sight, he scatters the cloud quite, and sets up JESUS himself. Now the apostle willeth us to turn our eyes from them, and to turn hither to JESUS CHRIST; as if he bad said, If Thou will indeed see a sight. once for all, look to him. The. saints, Though they be guides to us, yet are they but followers to him; he is the leader of them, and of us all; look on him. There* a time, when James may say, " Take my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example;." but when JESUS comes forth,_ that said, CO I have given Thou an example;" an example above all examples, then " be silent all flesh before the Lord." Let all saints and seraphim then cover their faces with their wings, that we may look on JESUS, and let all other sights go.
2.. Evil things. We must look off all that is in, the world; and that the apostle comprizeth under these three heads, " the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life;" or, pleasures,. profits, and honors. 1. We must look off this world in respect of its sinful pleasures. Jude tells us, " Such as are sensual have not the Spirit. We cannot fixedly look on pleasures, and look on JESUS at once. 2. We must look off this world in respect of its sinful profits. A look on this keeps off our looking unto JESUS. "Whosoever loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Just so' much as the world prevails in us, so much is GOD’s love abated both in us and towards us. " Ye adulterers and adulteresses, (says St. James,) know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with GOD WJ When we have enough in GOD and CHRIST,. and yet desire to make up our happiness in the creature, this is plain spiritual whoredom. 3. We must look off the world in respect of its honors. What is this desire. to be well Thought 6f, or well spoken of As if a man should run up and down after a feather flying in the air. It is a question whether ever he get it; but if he do, it is but a feather; such, is honor; it is hard to obtain it, but if obtained, it is but the breath of a few men's mouths; but what is worst of all, it hinders our sight of CHRIST. " Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." Worldly honor keeps many back from CHRIST.
But why must we look off every thing that diverts- our looking unto JESUS 1. Because we cannot look fixedly on CHRIST and such things at once. The eye cannot look upwards and downwards at once; we cannot seriously mind heaven and earth in one Thought. " No man can serve two masters;" especially such as jar, and have contrary employments, as CHRIST and mammon have. 2. Because whilst we look on these things, we cannot see the beauty that is in CHRIST. Our wishing-looks on other things, makes CHRIST but mean and contemptible in our eyes. 3. Because all other things: in comparison of CHRIST are not worth a look; they are but poor, low, mean, base things, in comparison of CHRIST. " I count all things but loss, (says St. Paul,) for the excellency of the knowledge of CHRIST JESUS my Lord.-I count them but dung that I may win CHRIST." Some translate, *, others dog's-meat, others excrements, dung; all agree, it is such a thing as men usually cast away from them with abhorreff ce. 4. Because it is according to the very law of marriage: "Therefore shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife." The Lord CHRIST marries himself to the souls of his saints; and for this cause the soul must forsake all, and cleave unto CHRIST. 5. Because CHRIST is a jealous God. Now jealousy is a passion in the soul, that will not endure any sharing in the object beloved. And so CHRIST cannot endure that we should look on any other things, so as to lust after them. 6. Because all other things can never satisfy the eye. "All things are full of labor, (says Solomon,) man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing:" it is but wearied with looking. on divers objects, and yet still desires new ones but once admit it to that glorious sight of CHRIST, and then it rests fully satisfied.
LOOKING UNTO JESUS. "CHAP 3:
SECT. 1: An Explanation of the Act and Object of looking.
An experimental looking unto JESUS, is that my text aims at. It is not a swimming knowledge of CHRIST, but an hearty feeling of CHRIST's inward workings; it is not notions of CHRIST, but hearty motions towards CHRIST, that are- implied in this inward looking.
2. For the object, Thou must look on JESUS. It is the most blessed. object that the eye of the mind can possibly fix upon. Of all objects under heaven, JESUS has the pre-eminence in perfection, and he should have the preeminence in our meditation. It is he that makes us most happy when we possess him, and we cannot but be joyful to look upon him, especially when looking is a degree of possessing.-JESUS signifies Savior; it is an Hebrew name; the Greeks borrowed it from the Hebrews, the Latins from the Greeks, and all other languages from the Latins. It comes from the Hebrew word Jehoshua, or Joshua, which in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, (written after the Babylonian captivity,) is Jeshua; and so is our Savior's name always written in the Syriack translation of the New Testament. This name JESUS was given to CHRIST the Son of GOD by his Father, and brought from heaven by an angel, first to Mary, and then to Joseph; and on `the day when he was circumcised, (as the manner was,)_ this name was given him by his parents, as it was commanded from the Lord, by the angel Gabriel. It includes both his office and his natures. He is the alone Savior of man,. " For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." And he is a perfect and an absolute Savior; " He is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto GOD by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. I will not deny, but that the work of salvation is common.<to all the three Persons in the Trinity.
It is a known rule, " All outward actions are equally common to the three Persons;" for as they are all one in nature and will, so must they be also one in operation; the Father saves, the Son saves, and the Holy Ghost saves; yet we must distinguish them in the manner of saving: the Father saves by the Son, the Son saves by paying the ransom and price of our salvation; the Holy Ghost saves by a particular applying of that ransom unto men. Now whereas the Son pays the price of our redemption, and not the Father, nor the Holy Ghost, therefore in this special respect he is called our Savior, our JESUS.
Herein is set forth the offices of CHRIST, the two natures of CHRIST, the qualities of CHRIST, the excellencies o€<hrist. Oh! what variety of sweet chatter is in JESUS. He has in him " all the powders of the merchants." An holy soul cannot tire itself in viewing JESUS. We know one thing tires quickly, unless that one be all: CHRIST is so, and none else: " He is all, and in all;" all belonging to being; and all belonging to well-being. In things below JESUS, some have this excellency, and some have that, but none have all. Oh! what variety is in JESUS. Variety of time, " He is Alpha and Omega;" variety of beauty, " He is white and ruddy;" variety of quality, he is a lion and a lamb, a servant and a son; variety of excellency, he is man and God. Oh! where shall we begin in this view of JESUS " Who shall declare his generation" All the evangelists exhibit unto us the Savior, but every one of them in his particular method. Mark describes not all the genealogy of JESUS, but begins his history at his baptism. Matthew searcheth out his original from Abraham. Luke follows it backwards as far as Adam. John passes further upwards, even to the eternal generation of this " Word that was made flesh." So they lead us to JESUS, mounting up four several steps; in the one we see him only among the men of his own time; in the second he is seen in the tent of Abraham; in the third he is yet higher, to wit, in Adam; and finally, having traversed all ages, through so many generations, we come to contemplate him in the beginning, in the bosom of the Father, in that eternity in which he was with GOD before all worlds. And there let us begin, still looking unto JESUS, as he carries on the great work of our. salvation from first to last, from everlasting to everlasting.
The main Doctrine, and Confirmation of it.
But for the foundation of our building take this note." Inward experimental looking unto JESUS, such as stirs up affections in the heart, and the effects thereof in our life, is an ordinance of CHRIST, a choice, an high gospel ordinance." Or' thus: " Inward experimental knowing, considering, desiring, hoping, believing, loving, joying, calling on JESUS, and conforming to JESUS, is the most precious ordinance of JESUS CHRIST." Looking unto JESUS is that great ordinance appointed by GOD for our most especial good. How many souls have blessed themselves in the use of other means, and Though in them CHRIST has communicated s/me virtue to them, yet because they did not trade more with them, they had little in comparison Such a one as deals immediately with CHRIST, will do more in a day, than another in a year, and therefore I call it a choice, a complete, an high gospel ordinance. JESUS is the object; and JESUS, as JESUS, as he is our Savior, as he has negotiated, or shall yet negotiate the great business o our - salvation. Looking unto is the act; but such *as includes all these acts, knowing, considering, desiring, hoping, believing, loving, joying, enjoying of JESUS, and conforming to JESUS. It is such look as stirs up affections in the heart, and the effects thereof in our life. It is such a look as leaves a quickening upon the spirit. It is such a look as works us into a warm affection, raised resolution, an holy and upright conversation. Briefly, it is an inward, experimental looking unto JESUS.
This was the Lord's charge to the Gentiles of old; ~r Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. And I said, behold me! behold me! unto a nation that was not called by my name." And according to this command was their practice; " Mine eyes are ever towards the Lord," says David. " They looked unto him, and were lightened, and their' faces were not ashamed." And according to this command is the practice of gospel believers; `r We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Instead of the vail of Mosaical figures, GOD has now given to his church the clear glass of the gospel; and hence all believers under the gospel do,. by contemplative faith, behold CHRIST, together with the glorious light of his mercy, truth, and the rest of his Divine attributes; and by means thereof they are made like unto him in the glory of holiness, and in newness' of life.
Use of Reproof.
Well, then! is inward experimental looking unto JESUS a choice, an high gospel-ordinance How, may this reprove Thousands. How many are there that mind not this duty. The truth is, that as " the whole world lies in wickedness," so the eyes of the whole world are misplaced. There are few that have a care of this choice, of this high gospel-ordinance. I shall therefore reprove both the ungodly and godly.
1. For the ungodly, not CHRIST, nor GOD, is in all their Thoughts. Alas! they cannot tell what it means, to look unto JESUS. Nor speak I only of poor Indians, and other savages, who come into the world, not knowing wherefore, and go out of the world, not knowing whither; but of such as live within the Christian church, that have nothing to distinguish them from those Indian miscreants but outward formalities, the charity of others, and their own slight imaginations. Why, alas! these are they that the Lord complains of, that " They have eyes and see not. My people have forgotten me days without number." Thou will say, Is there any such here Can I tax any of Thou, that Thou do not look up to JESUS Are not Your eyes towards CHRIST in Your prayers, praises, public and private duties Nay, are-not Thou now in the duty whilst I am speaking, and Thou hearing I answer, however Thou may deem that Thou do this or that, yet GOD reckons it as a thing not done in these respects.-1. When it is not done to purpose as when our looking to CHRIST makes us not like CHRIST; if there be no effectual impression upon the heart, CHRIST takes it as if we had never looked towards him at all. 2. When it is done unwillingly. Let no man deceive himself; Though he cast. his eyes towards heaven all the day long, if he love not his work, he does nothing; he looks not at JESUS. 3. When a man makes it not his course to look unto JESUS. A man may come unto a carpenter's house, and take up his tools, and do something at his work, but this makes him not a carpenter, because it is not his trade. So ungodly men may look and think of CHRIST; but because this is not-their course and trade, they make it not their work to look to CHRIST; they are therefore said, not to look to him.
Consider, Thou who plead that Thou arc Christians, and that Thou mind CHRIST at this very instant, that Thou are in the duty, even whilst I am speaking of it, and yet Thou neither do it to purpose, nor willingly; is it not with Thou as it is with them of whom CHRIST spoke, " Many will say to me, at that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name And in thy name have cast out devils And in thy name have done many wonderful works" They will plead at the last day as Thou plead now; but for all that, Thou know the answer, " I never knew Thou; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity."
2. For the godly, are they not careless of this duty I know not whether through want of skill, or through want of will; but sure I am, this duty lies neglected by most of the people of God. Their faults I may express in these respects:
l. In not pointing their minds towards JESUS. " I write unto Thou," (says the apostle,) " to stir up Your minds, by way of remembrance:" it is in the original *, " to awaken Your pure minds;" and it was but need waking is a word that imports rousing, as birds that provoke their young ones by flight to make use of their wings. Now, how few are there who thus call upon themselves. It was the prophet's complaint, " No man stirs up himself to take hold on God." Oh! what a shame
is this. Is it fit that our understandings, which GOD has entrusted us with, should be no more improved Is it fit that our minds, (those golden cabinets which GOD has given us, to be filled with heavenly treasure,) should either be empty, or stuffed with vanity, nothing, worse than nothing Oh! that such glorious things as our immortal spirits should run after vanity; which, if rightly improved, should walk with angels, should lodge them selves in the bosom of the glorious God! Do we not see how CHRIST is sending out to us continually The Thoughts of his heart are love, eternal love. And shall not we send out our Thoughts towards him Shall not we let our minds run out towards him
2. In not bending their minds to this work. It may be the mind looks up, but it is so feeble, that like an arrow shot from a bow weakly bent, it reacheth not the mark. It is the wise man's counsel, " Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with all thy might." Oh! that GOD’s people should be so lazy, dull, sluggish, slothful, in this spiritual work! As JESUS said to the multitudes concerning John, " What went ye out into the wilderness do see" So may I ask believers, in their looking unto JESUS, What went ye out to see When Thou crawl, and move, as if Thou had no hearts nor spirits within Thou, whom go ye forth to see Him that is the Lord of glory Him that is " the brightness, of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person" What are such heavy and lazy aspects fit to take in such a glory as this Thou see in what large streams Your Thoughts fly forth to other things, and are Thou only languishing, weak, and feeble in things of so great concernment Oh! that Christians should be cold in spirituals, and hot in the pursuit of temporal things
3. In not binding of their minds to this object, in not staying the eye on JESUS CHRIST. Some may give a glance at CHRIST, but they are presently wheeled off again. But why does not the eye abide there Is not CHRIST worthy on whom our souls should dwell certainly, if we love our JESUS, that love will hold us: as the load-stone having drawn the iron, keeps it fast to the object loved. Is CHRIST' so tender in his, love towards us, that he ever minds us, and shall our minds be so loose to him Shall there be no more care to bind ourselves in cords of love to him, who has bound himself in such cords of love to us
4. In not daily exercising this blessed duty. It may be now and then- they are awakened, and they get up into heaven to see their_ JESUS, but it is not daily. Oh! consider; Is this now and then going to heaven within the veil, to live the life of friends Is this to carry ourselves as children What to be so strange at home There to be seldom, where we should always be Is JESUS CHRIST such a mean thing, that a visit now and then should serve the turn The queen of Sheba hearing Solomon's wisdom, said, "Blessed are those thy servants that always stand before thee, and hear thy wisdom." If she were so taken with Solomon, remember that a greater than Solomon is here. And shall we deprive ourselves of that blessedness, which we might enjoy by standing always in the presence of CHRIST, to hear his wisdom, and to behold his glory' O my Brethren, let us take shame to ourselves, that to this day we have been so careless in sending, bending, and. binding our minds to this blessed object, JESUS CHRIST; yea, let us blush that we have not made it our daily business. David describes the blessed man by his " delighting in the law of the Lord," and by his " meditating on, that law day and night;" how then is he to be reproved that neither meditates on the law of the Lord, nor on the Lord, the Law-maker, day or night"
Is inward, experimental looking unto JESUS, a choice and high gospel-ordinance Then, “I beseech Thou by the meekness and gentleness of CHRIST; I beseech Thou, brethren, for the Lord JESUS. CHRIST's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, to look unto JESUS." Or, if my beseeching will not prevail, yet look on me as an ambassador of CHRIST; consider as Though GOD did beseech Thou by me.. I beseech, I pray Thou in CHRIST's stead; it is a message that I have from GOD to Your souls, to look unto JESUS; and, therefore, ".set Your hearts to all the words that I testify to Thou this day, for it is not a vain thing, but it is for Your lives." Oh! that I should need thus to persuade Your hearts to look unto JESUS! What, is not Your JESUS worthy of this Why then are Your Thoughts no more upon him Why are not Your hearts continually with hint Why are not Your strongest desires, and daily delights in, and after the Lord JESUS What is the matter Will not GOD give Thou leave to approach this light Will he not suffer Your souls to taste and see Why then are these words in the text Why then Both he cry, and double his cry, a Behold me! behold me" Ah! vile hearts! how delightfully and unweariedly can we think of vanity. How freely, and how frequently can we think of our pleasures,. friends; yea, of our miseries, wrongs, sufferings, and fears. And what, is not CHRIST in all our Thoughts Christians, humble and cast down Your sinful hearts, that have in them no more of CHRIST. Oh! chide them for their willful or weak strangeness to JESUS CHRIST! Oh! turn Your Thoughts, from all earthly vanities, and bend Your souls to study CHRIST; habituate Thourselves to such contemplations;. and let not those Thoughts be seldom or cursory, but settle upon them; dwell there, hase Your souls in those delights, drench Your affections in those rivers of pleasures, or rather in the sea of consolation. Have Your eyes continually set on CHRIST.
Say not, CC Thou are unable to do thus; this must be GOD’s work only, and therefore all our exhortations are in vain." A learned divine can tell Thou, Though GOD be the chief disposer of Your hearts, yet next under him Thou have the greatest command of them Thourselves. Though " without CHRIST Thou can’do nothing," yet under him Thou may do much; or else it will be undone, and Thou undone through Your neglect. Do Your own parts, and Thou have no cause to distrust whether CHRIST will do his. It is not usual with CHRIST to forsake his own people in that very work he sets them on. If Your souls were-sound and right, they would perceive incomparable delight in knowing, believing, loving, and rejoicing in JESUS CHRIST, than the soundest stomach finds in his food, or the strongest senses in the enjoyment of their objects. Now, for shame, never say Thou cannot reach it. I can do all things, (says Paul,) through CHRIST that strengtheneth me." It is our sloth, our security, our carnal mind, which is enmity to GOD and CHRIST, that keeps us' off
Motives from our Wants in case of Neglect.
To quicken us to this duty, I shall propound some moving considerations: ponder them with an impartial judgment; who knows but through the assistance of CHRIST they may prove effectual with Your hearts, and make Thou resolve upon this excellent duty of looking unto JESUS. Consider, 1. our wants in case of neglect. If CHRIST be not in view, there is nothing but wants. Suppose, first, a CHRISTless soul, a poor creature without any ray of this Sun of Righteousness, and what a sad condition is he in I may say of such a one, that, First, he is without' light: there is no oil of saving knowledge,. no star of spiritual light arising in his soul. “Ye were
once darkness," says the apostle to his. Ephesians: not only dark, but darkness itself; they were wholly dark, universally dark, having no mixture, nor glimpse (without CHRIST,) of spiritual light in them. Secondly, Such a one is without grace, without holiness. CHRIST is our sanctification, as well as righteousness' and redemption. Where CHRIST is not, there is no inclination to the ways and works of sanctification. Thirdly, Such a one is without content. The soul in this. case finds nothing but emptiness and vanity in the greatest abundance. Let a man have what the world can give, yet if he have not CHRIST, he is nothing worth. CHRIST is the marrow and fatness, the fullness and sweetness of all our endowments; separate CHRIST from them, and they are bitter, and do not please us; empty, and do not fill us. Joram asking Jehu, “Is it peace" was answered, " What has Thou to do with peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many" A CHRISTless man asking, Is it peace, O messenger of God can look for no other but Jehu's answer, What has Thou to do with peace, so long as thy lusts are so strong within thee, and thy estrangements from the Prince of Peace so great The soul that is without JESUS CHRIST, is an enemy to the GOD of peace, an alien to the way of peace. "There is no peace to the wicked, says my God."
Fourthly, Such a one is without life. " He that has not the Son, has not life," says John: CHRIST lives not in that soul, it is a dead soul, dead in sin and trespasses. As the dead see nothing of all that sweet and glorious light which the sun casts forth upon them, so the dead in sin have no comfortable apprehension of CHRIST, Though he shine in the gospel more gloriously than the sun at noon. And as CC the dead know not any thing;" so the dead in sin know nothing of the wisdom of CHRIST guiding them, or of the holiness of CHRIST sanctifying them, or of the fullness of CHRIST satisfying them, or of the death of CHRIST mortifying their lusts: yea, suppose those that have known CHRIST, but do not look now unto JESUS, how great, is the sin and sadness of those souls Oh! the wants attending such creatures! 1. They have not that wisdom, knowledge, discerning of CHRIST, as they might have. By looking, and seriously observing CHRIST, we gain more and more knowledge of CHRIST; but if we will not look, how should we understand those great mysteries of grace without looking on CHRIST, we cannot expect that virtue should go out of CHRIST: 2. They do not so taste the goodness of CHRIST as they might: CHRIST is no other unto them, but as an eclipsed star::CHRIST is not sweet to them in his ordinances, they find not in them that delight and refreshment which- they usually minister. They are in the case of Barzillai, "who could not taste what he did eat, or what he did drink; nor could' hear any more the voice of singing men or of singing women." So they cannot taste the things of GOD, nor hear. the spiritual melody which CHRIST makes to the souls of them that look unto him. 3. They have not that sense of CHRIST's love, which those that exercise this duty have. Whilst the soul neglects CHRIST, it cannot possibly discern the love of CHRIST it perceives not CHRIST applying the doctrines of his love to the conscience CHRIST appears not in his banqueting-house; he enables not the soul to pray with confidence, he makes it not joyful in the house of prayer. And hence it. is, that such souls move so slowly in GOD’s service; they are just like Pharoah's chariots, without wheels; they perceive not the love of CHRIST either in the clear revelation of his secrets, or in the free community of his graces, or in the sanctifying and sweetening of their trials, or in sealing the pardon of their sins. Oh! the want! oh! the misery of this want!
Thus far of their wants that neglect this duty of looking unto JESUS.
SECT. VT. Motives from our Riches, in case we are lively in this Duty.
For our riches, in case we are lively in this duty.’ Oh! the blessed incomes to such souls! We may reckon up here those very particulars which the other wanted.
1. That CHRIST gives light unto them. As the receiving of the sun gives light to the body, so the receiving of the Sun of Righteousness gives spiritual, heavenly, comfortable light to their souls. 2. That CHRIST gives grace and holiness unto them. "Of hisfulness we receive grace for grace." As the print upon the wax answers to the seal, or as the characters upon the Son answer to the Father; so there are certain stamps of the grace of CHRIST upon the saints, that what good they do, it springs not from external motives only, but from CHRIST working in them. 3. That CHRIST gives content or satisfaction unto them. As the pearl satisfied the merchant in the parable, so CHRIST satisfies the soul with understanding, with the sense of his love in the heart, with sure and blessed peace in the conscience. “He that has the son, has life." He that has CHRIST in his heart, as a root of life living in him, or as a king setting up his throne within him, or as a bridegroom betrothing himself in loving-kindness to him, be has life, the life of grace, and the earnest of the life of glory. 5. That CHRIST gives a taste of his goodness unto them. They cannot look unto him, but he makes them joyful with the feeling of himself and Spirit: and hence it is that many times they break out into psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, and make melody in their hearts unto the Lord. Here is a goodness of illumination, "regeneration, sanctification, and spiritual freedom, flowing from CHRIST to the souls of his saints, which to carnal men is a sealed well, whose waters their palates never tasted. 6. That CHRIST gives the sense of his love to them. They cannot look onCHRIST, but they see him loving and embracing their humble souls; they see him binding up their broken hearts; they behold him gathering to himself, and bearing in the bosom of his love, and comforting with the promises of his word their wounded spirits; they behold him like Jacob, serving in the heat and in the cold for Rachel, serving in manifold afflictions from his cradle to his cross, to make a spouse unto himself. 7. That CHRIST gives the sense of his own worth and excellency unto them. They see now in CHRIST his wisdom surpassing the brightness of the sun, even all the treasures of wisdom; in CHRIST is power excelling the strength of rocks; he is’not only strong, but strength itself; in CHRIST is honor transcending all the kings of the earth, for he is King of kings and Lord of lords; in CHRIST is beauty excelling the rose of Sharon, and lily of the vallies; he is fairer than all the flowers of the field, than all the precious stones of the earth, than all the lights in the firmament, than all the saints and angels in the highest -heavens. 8. That CHRIST gives all things unto them. "All things are Thours (says the apostle,) whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come,. all are Thours, and Thou are CHRIST's, and CHRIST is GOD’s. "
All things are Thours: First, all the ministers' of CHRIST, from the highest to the lowest, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas; they are Your servants, they are men that watch over Thou for Your salvation. Secondly, the world is Thours: indeed the world, stands but for Your sakes; if Your number were but once completed, quickly would the world be set on fire. Thirdly, life is Thours it is a fitting Thou for a better life, even for eternity. Fourthly, death is Thours: for Thou shall die just then when it is best for Thou. Death shall serve but as a servant to Your advantage. Fifthly, things present, and things to come, are Thours. " Godliness has the promise of this life, and of that which is to come."
Sixthly, the Lord himself is Thours: take GOD, and look on him in his greatness, in his mighty power, even this great GOD, the Lord of heaven and earth, is Thours: he is Thours, and all that he has is Thours, and all that he does is Thours, and all that he can do is Thours. " I will be thin (says GOD to Abraham) I will be an exceeding great reward.". Here is a catalogue, an inventory of a Christian's riches have CHRIST and have all. When an heathen was asked, where all his treasure was, he answered, " Where Cyrus my friend is:" and if any ask Thou, where all Your treasure is, Thou may answer, " Where CHRIST my friend is:" in this respect Thou may truly say, there is no end of Your riches; they are called " the unsearchable riches of CHRIST." Paul could find no bottom of these riches. Oh! who would not look unto JESUS If CHRIST be Thours, GOD is Thours, the Father is Thours, the Son is Thours, the Spirit is Thours, all the promises are Thours; for in CHRIST they are all made, and for him they shall be performed-. Come, let the proud man boast in his honor, and the mighty man in his valor, and the rich man in his wealth; but let the Christian pronounce himself happy, only happy, truly happy, fully happy, in beholding CHRIST, enjoying CHRIST, having CHRIST, in looking unto JESUS.