The Teachings of God opened, in their Nature and Necessity.
John 6: 45.
"It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, cometh unto me."
How necessary to our union with Jesus Christ, the application of the law, or coming home of the commandment to the heart of a sinner is, we have heard in the last discourse; and how impossible it is, either for the commandment to come to us, or for us to come to Christ without illumination and instruction from above, you shall hear in this.
This scripture has much of the mind of God in it; and he that is to open it, had need himself to be taught of God. In the foregoing verses, Christ offers himself as the bread of life unto the souls of men: against this doctrine they oppose their carnal reason, ver. 41, 42. Christ strikes at the root of all their cavils and objections in his reply, ver. 43, 44. "Murmur not among yourselves: no man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him;" q. d. you slight me because you do not know me; you do not know me because you are not taught of God; of these divine teachings, the prophets of old have spoken, and what they foretold is at this day fulfilled in our sight; so many as are taught of God, and no more, come unto me in the way of faith: it is impossible to come without the teachings of God, ver. 44. It is as impossible not to come, or to miscarry in their coming unto me, under the influence of these divine teachings, ver. 45.
The words read, consist of two parts, viz.
1. An allegation out of the prophets.
2. The application thereof made by Christ.
First, An allegation out af the prophets: "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God." The places in the prophets to which Christ seems here to refer, are, Isa. 54: 13. "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;" and, Jer. 31: 34. "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord." These promises contain the great blessings of the new covenant, viz. Divine instruction and heavenly illumination, without which no man can obtain an interest in the new covenant.
Secondly, We have here the application of these testimonies out of the prophets, made by Christ himself; "Every man therefore that has heard, and learned of the Father, come unto me.
In which words we have both the necessity and the efficacy of these divine teachings; without them no man can come, and under them no man can miscarry. The words being fitly rendered, and the sense obvious,
The notes are,Doct. 1. That the teachings of God are absolutely necessary to every man that cometh unto Christ, in the way of faith.&bnbsp; Of the necessity of divine teaching, in order to believing, the apostle speaks, in Eph. 4: 20, 21. "But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that you have heard him, and been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus;" i.e. Your faith must needs be effectual, both to the reformation of your lives, and your perseverance in the ways of holiness, if it be such a faith as is begotten and introduced into your hearts by divine teaching. Now, in the explication of this point, I shall speak distinctly to the following enquiries.
Doct. 2. No man can miss of Christ, or miscarry in the way of faith, that is under the special instructions and teachings of the Father.
Doct. 1. That the teachings of God are absolutely necessary to every man that cometh unto Christ, in the way of faith.
1. How does God teach men, or what is imported in our being taught of God?
2. What those special lessons are, which all believers do hear, and are taught of God?
3. In what manner does God teach these things to men in the day of their conversion to Christ?
4. What influence God's teaching has upon our believing?
5. Why it is impossible for any man to believe, or come to Christ without the Father's teachings
First, How does God teach men, or what is imported in our being taught of God? To this I will speak both negatively and positively, for your clearer apprehension of the sense and meaning of the Spirit of God in this phrase.
First, The teaching of God, and our hearing and learning of him, is not to be understood of any extraordinary visional appearances, or oraculous and immediate voice of God to men: God indeed has so appeared unto some, Numb. 12: 8. Such voices have been heard from heaven, but now these extraordinary ways are ceased, Heb. 1: 1, 2. and we are no more to expect them; we may sooner meet with satanical delusions than divine illuminations in this way. I remember, the learned Gerson tells us that the devil once appeared to an holy man in prayer, personating Christ, and saying, I am come in person to visit thee, for thou art worthy. But he with both hands shut his eyes, saying, Nolo hic Christum videre, satis est ipsum in gloria videre; i.e. I will not see Christ here; it is enough for me to see him in glory. We are now to attend only to the voice of the Spirit in the scriptures: this is a more sure word than any voice from heaven, 2 Pet. 1: 19.
Secondly, The teachings of God are not to be understood as opposite unto, or exclusive of the teachings of men. Divine teachings do not render ministerial teachings in vain or useless. Paul was taught of God, Gal. 1: 12. and his conversion had something extraordinary in it, yet the ministry of Ananias was used and honoured in that work, Acts 9: 4, 17. compared. Divine teachings do indeed excel, but not exclude human teachings. I know that scripture, Jer. 31: 24. to which Christ here refers, is objected against the necessity of a standing ministry in the church, "They shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother," &c. But if those words should be understood absolutely, they would not only overthrow all public ordinances of God's own institution, 1 Cor. 12: 28. and deprive us of a principal fruit of Christ's ascension, Eph. 4: 11. 12. but, for the same reason, would destroy all private instructions and fraternal admonitions also. Such a sense would make the prophet to contradict the apostle, and spoil the consent and harmony of the scriptures: the sense thereof cannot be negative, but comparative; it shews the excellency of divine, but does not destroy the usefulness of human teachings; Subordinata non pugnant. The teachings of men are made effectual by the teachings of the Spirit; and the Spirit in his teachings will use and honour the ministry of man.
Thirdly, But to speak positively, the teachings of God are nothing else but that spiritual and heavenly light, by which the Spirit of God shineth into the hearts of men, to give them "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 4: 6. And though this be the proper work of the Spirit, yet it is called the teachings of the Father, because the Spirit who enlightens us is commissioned and sent by the Father so to do, John 14: 26. Now these teachings of the Spirit of God, consist in two things, viz. in his,
1. Sanctifying impressions.
2. Gracious assistances.
First, In his sanctifying impressions or regenerating work upon the soul, by virtue whereof it receives marvellous light and insight into spiritual things; and that not only as illumination is the first act of the Spirit in our conversion, Col. 3: 10. but as his whole work of sanctification is illuminative and instructive to the converted soul, 1 John 2: 27. "The anointing which you have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you." The meaning is that sanctification gives the soul experience of those mysterious things which are contained in the scriptures, and that experience is the most excellent key to unlock and open those deep scripture mysteries; no knowledge is so distinct, so clear, so sweet, as that which the heart communicates to the head, John 7: 17. "If any man do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." A man that never read the nature of love in books of philosophy, nor the transports and ecstasies thereof in history, may yet truly describe and express it by the sensible motions of that passion in his own soul; yea, he that has felt, much better understands, than he that has only read or heard. O what a light does spiritual sense and experience cast upon a great part of the scriptures! for indeed sanctification is the very copy or transcript of the word of God upon the heart of man; Jer. 31: 83. "I will write my law in their hearts:" so that the scriptures and the experiences of believers, by this means answer to each other, as the lines and letters in the press answer to the impressions made upon the paper; or the figures in the wax, to the engravings in the seal. When a sanctified man reads David's psalms, or Paul's epistles, how is he surprised with wonder to find the very workings of his own heart so exactly deciphered and fully expressed there! O, saith he, this is my very case, these holy men speak what my heart has felt.
Secondly, The Spirit of God teacheth us, as by his sanctifying impressions, so by his gracious assistances, which he gives us pro re nata, as our need requires, Mat. 10: 19. "It shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak;" John 14: 26. "He shall bring all things to your remembrance: he assisteth both the understanding in due apprehensions of truth, and the heart in the spiritual improvements of truth. And so much briefly of the first particular.
Secondly, In the next place we are to enquire what those special truths are which believers hear and learn of the Father, when they come to Christ.
And there are divers great and necessary truths, wherein the Spirit enlightens men in that day. I cannot say they are all taught every believer in the same degree and order; but it is certain they are taught of God such lessons as these are, which they never so understood before.
Lesson 1. First, They are taught of God that there is abundantly more evil in their sinful natures and actions, than ever they discerned or understood before: "the Spirit when he cometh shall convince the world of sin," John 16: 8, 9. Men had a general notion of sin before; so had Paul, when a Pharisee: but how vastly different were his apprehensions of sin, from all that ever he had in his natural state, when God brought home the commandment to his very heart? There is a threefold knowledge of sin, viz. traditional, discursive, and intuitive. The first is the more rude and illiterate multitude. The second is more rational and knowing men. The third is only found in those that are enlightened and taught of God. And there is as great a difference betwixt this intuitive knowledge of sin, whereby God makes a soul to discern the nature and evil of it in a spiritual light, and the two former, as there is betwixt the sight of a painted lion upon the wall, and the sight of a living lion that meets us roaring in the way. The intuitive sight of sin is another thing than men imagine it to be: it is such a sight as wounds a man to the very heart, Acts 2: 37. for God does not only shew a man this or that particular sin, but in the day of conviction, he sets all his sins in order before him, Psal. 50: 21. yea, the Lord shews him the sinfulness of his nature as well as practice. Conviction digs to the root, shews and lays open that original corruption, from whence the innumerable evils of the life do spring, James 1: 14, 15. and which is yet more, the Lord shews the man whom he is bringing to Christ the sinful and miserable estate which he is in by reason of both, John 16: 9. And now all excuses, pleas and defences of sin are gone, he shews him "how their iniquities have exceeded," Job 36: 8, 9. exceeded in number, and in aggravations of sinfulness; exceeding many, and exceeding vile; no such sinner in the world as I; can such sins as mine be pardoned? The greatness of God greatens my sin; the holiness of God makes it beyond measure vile; the goodness of God puts inconceivable weight into my guilt. O, can there be mercy for such a wretch as I! If there be, then there will not be a greater example of the riches of free grace in all the world than I am. Thus God teacheth the evil of sin.
Lesson 2. Secondly, God teacheth the soul whom he is bringing to Christ, what that wrath and misery are which hang over it in the threatenings because of sin. Scripture-threatenings were formerly slighted, now the soul trembles at them: They once apprehended themselves safe enough, Isa. 28: 15. Psal. 50: 21. They thought, because they heard no more of their sins after the commission of them, that therefore they should never hear more; that the effect had been as transient a thing as the act of sin was; or if trouble must follow sin, they should speed no worse than others, the generality of the world being in the same case; and besides, they hoped to find God more merciful than sour and precise preachers represented him. But when a light from God enters into the soul, to discover the nature of God, and of sin, then it sees that whatever wrath is treasured up for sinners in the dreadful threatenings of the law, is but the just demerit of sin, the recompence that is meet: "The wages of sin is death," Rom. 6: 23. The penal evil of damnation is but equal to the moral evil of sin: So that in the whole ocean of God's eternal wrath, there is not one drop of injustice; yea, the soul does not only see the justice of God in its eternal damnation, but the wonderful mercy of God in the suspension thereof so long. O, what is it that has withheld God from damning me all this while! How is it that I am not in hell! Now do the fears and awful apprehensions of eternity seize the soul, and the worst of sensitive creatures is supposed to be in a better condition than such a soul. Never do men tremble at the threatenings of God, nor rightly apprehend the danger of their condition, until sin, and wrath, and the wages of sin be discovered to them by a light from heaven.
Lesson 3. Thirdly, God teaches the soul whom he brings to Christ that deliverance from sin, and wrath to come, is the greatest and most important business it has to do in this world. Acts 16: 30. "What must I do to be saved?" q. d. O direct me to some effectual way (if there be any) to secure my poor wretched soul from the wrath of God. Sin, and the wrath that follows it, are things that swallow up the souls, and drink up the very spirits of men: Their thoughts never conversed with things of more confessed truth and awful solemnity: These things float not upon their fancies as matters of mere speculation, but settle upon their hearts day and night, as the deepest concernment in all the world: They now know much better than any mere scholar, the deep sense of that text, Matth. 16: 26. "What is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Five things shew how weighty the thoughts and cares of salvation are upon their hearts.
First, Their continual thoughtfulness and solicitude about these things: if earthly affairs divert them for a while, yet they are still returning again to this solemn business.
Secondly, Their careful redeeming of time, and saving the very moments thereof to employ about this work: Those that were prodigal of hours and days before, look upon every moment of time as a precious and valuable thing now.
Thirdly, Their fears and tremblings lest they should miscarry, and come short at last, shew how much their hearts are set upon this work.
Fourthly, Their inquisitiveness and readiness to embrace all the help and assistance that they can act from others, evidently discover this to be their great design.
Fifthly, and lastly, The little notice they take of all other troubles and afflictions, tells you their hearts are taken up about greater things. This is the third lesson they are taught of God.
Lesson 4. Fourthly, The Lord teaches the soul that is coming to Christ, that though it be their duty to strive to the uttermost for salvation; yet all strivings, in their own strength, are insufficient to obtain it. This work is quite above the power of nature: "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." The soul is brought to a full conviction of this, by the discovery of the heinous nature of sin, and of the rigour and severity of the law of God. No repentance nor reformation can possibly amount unto a just satisfaction, nor are they within the compass and power of our will. It was a saying that Dr. Hill often used to his friends, speaking about the power of man's will; he would lay his hand upon his breast, and say, "Every man has something here to confute the Arminian doctrine." This fully takes off the soul from all expectations of deliverance that way; it cannot but strive, that is its duty; but to expect deliverance, as the purchase of its own strivings, that would be its sin.
Lesson 5. Fifthly, The soul that is coming to Christ by faith, is taught of God, that though the case it is in be sad, yet it is not desperate and remediless: There is a door of hope, a way of escape for poor sinners, how black and fearful soever their own thoughts and apprehensions are; there is usually at this time a dawning light of hope in the soul that is under the Father's teachings; and this commonly arises from the general and indefinite encouragements and promises of the gospel, which, though they do not presently secure the soul from danger, yet they prop and mightily support it against despair: For though they be not certain that deliverance shall be the event of their trouble; yet the possibilities, and much more the probabilities of deliverance are a great stay to a sinning soul. The troubled soul cannot but acknowledge itself to be in a far better case than the damned are, whose hopes are perished from the Lord, and a death pang of despair has seized their consciences. And herein the merciful and compassionate nature of God is eminently discovered, in hasting to open the door of hope, almost as soon as the evil of sin is opened. It was not long after Adam's eyes were opened to see his misery, that God opened Christ, his remedy, in that first promise, Gen. 3: 15. And the same method of grace is still continued to his elect offspring, Gal. 3: 21, 22. Rom. 3: 21, 22. These supporting hopes the Lord sees necessary to encourage industry in the use of means; it is hope that sets all the world a work; if all hope were cut off, every soul would sit down in a sullen despair, yielding itself for hell.
Lesson 6. Sixthly, The Lord teaches those that come to Christ, that there is a fulness of saving power in him, whereby any soul that duly receives him, may be perfectly delivered from all its sin and misery, Heb. 7: 25. Col. 1: 19. Matth. 28: 18. This is a great and necessary point for every believer to learn and hear from the Father; for unless the soul be satisfied of the fulness of Christ's saving, power, it will never move forward towards him; and herein also the goodness of God is most sweetly and seasonably manifested; for, at this time, it is the great design of Satan to fill the soul with despairing thoughts of a pardon; but all those black and heart sinking thoughts vanish before the discovery of Christ's all sufficiency. Now the sin-sick soul saith with that woman, Matth. 9: 21. "If I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be healed." How deep soever the guilt and stain of sin be, yet the soul which acknowledges the infinite dignity of the blood of Christ, the offering it up to God in our room, and God's declared satisfaction in it, must needs be satisfied that Christ is "able to save, to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him;" which is the sixth lesson believers are taught of God.
Lesson 7. Seventhly, Every man that comes to Christ is taught of God, that he can never reap any benefit by the blood of Christ, except he have union with the person of Christ, 1 John 5: 12. Eph. 4: 16. Time was when men fondly thought nothing was necessary to their salvation but the death of Christ; but now the Lord shows them that their union with Christ by faith is as necessary, in the place of an applying cause, as the death of Christ is, in the place of a meritorious cause: The purchase of salvation is an act of Christ without us, whilst we are yet sinners; the application thereof is by a work wrought within us, when we are believers, Col. 1: 27. In the purchase all the elect are redeemed together by way of price; in the application they are actually redeemed, each person, by way of power. Look, as the sin of the first Adam could never hurt us, unless he had been our head by way of generation; so the righteousness of Christ can never benefit us, unless he be our head by way of regeneration. In teaching this lesson, the Lord, in mercy, unteaches and blots out that dangerous principle, by which the greatest part of the christianised world do perish, viz. that the death of Christ is, in itself, effectual to salvation, though a man be never regenerated or united to him by saving faith
Lesson 8. Eighthly, God teaches the soul, whom he is bringing to Christ, that whatever is necessary to be wrought in us, or done by us, in order to our union with Christ, is to be obtained from him in the way of prayer, Ezek. 36: 37. And it is observable, that the soul no sooner comes under the effectual teachings of God, but the Spirit of prayer begins to breathe in it, Acts 9: 8. "Behold, he prayeth." Those that were taught to pray by men before, are now taught of the Lord to pray: To pray did I say? yea, and to pray fervently too, as men concerned for their eternal happiness; to pray not only with others, but to pour out our souls before the Lord in secret; for their hearts are as bottles full of new wine, which must vent or break. Now the soul returns upon its God often in the same day; now it can express its burdens and wants, in words and groans which the Spirit teacheth. They pray, and will not give over praying, till Christ come with complete salvation.
Lesson 9. Ninthly, All that come to Christ are taught of God to abandon their former ways and companions in sin, as ever they expect to be received unto mercy, Isa. 55: 7. 2 Cor. 5: 17. Sins that were profitable and pleasant, that were as the right hand, and right eye, must now be cut off. Companions in sin, who were once the delight of their lives, must now be cast off. Christ saith to the soul concerning these, as he said in another case, John 18: 8. "If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." And the soul saith unto Christ, as it is, Psal. 119: 115. "Depart from me, ye evil- doers, for I will keep the commandments of my God." And now pleasant sins and companions in sin, become the very burden and shame of a man's soul. Objects of delight are become objects of pity and compassion: No endearments, no union of blood, no earthly interests whatsoever, are found strong enough to hold the soul any longer from Christ: Nothing but the effectual teachings of God are found sufficient to dissolve such bonds of iniquity as these.
Lesson 10. Tenthly, All that come unto Christ are taught of God, that there is such a beauty and excellency in the ways and people of God, as is not to be equalled in the whole world, Psa. 16: 3. When the eyes of strangers to Christ begin to be opened, and enlightened in his knowledge, you may see what a change of judgement is wrought in them, with respect to the people of God: and towards them especially, whom God has any way made instrumental for the good of their souls, Cant. 5: 9. they then call the spouse of Christ, the fairest among women. The convincing holiness of the bride then began to enamour and affect them, with a desire of nearer conjunction and communion: We will seek him with thee; with thee that hast so charged us, that hast taken so much pains for the good of our souls; now, and never before, the righteous appeareth more excellent than his neighbour. Change of heart is always accompanied with change of judgement, with respect to the people of God: thus the gaoler, Acts 16: 33. washed the apostle's stripes, to whom he had been so cruel before. The godly now seem to be the glory of the places where they live; and the glory of any place seems to be darkened by their removal; as one said of holy Mr. Barrington, "Methinks the town is not at home when Mr. Barrington is out of town." They esteem it a choice mercy to be in their company and acquaintance; Zech. 8: 23. "We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." No people like the people of God now; as one said, when he heard of two faithful friends, Utinam tertius essem! O that I might make the third! Whatever vile or low thoughts they had of the people of God before, to be sure now they are the excellent of the earth, in whom is all their delight: The holiness of the saints might have some interest in their consciences before, but they never had such an interest in their estimation and affections, till this lesson was taught them by the Father.
Lesson 11. Eleventhly, An that come to Christ are taught of God, that whatever difficulties they apprehend in religion, yet they must not, upon pain of damnation, be discouraged thereby, or return again to sin, Luke 9: 62. "No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Ploughing work is hard work; a strong and steady hand is required for it: he that ploughs must keep on, and make no balks of the hardest and toughest ground he meets with. Religion also is the running of a race. 1 Cor. 9: 24. there is no standing still, much less turning back, if ever we hope to win the prize.
The devil, indeed, labours every way to discourage and daunt the soul, by representing the insuperable difficulties of religion to it; and young beginners are but too apt to be discouraged, and fall under despondency; but the teachings of the Father are encouraging teachings; they are carried on from strength to strength against all the oppositions they meet with from without them, and the many discouragements they find within them. To this conclusion they are brought by the teaching of God, We must have Christ, we must get a pardon, we must strive for salvation, let the difficulties, troubles, and sufferings in the way be never so great or many. As he said, Necesse est ut eam, non ut vivam; it is necessary that I go on, it is not necessary that I live: So saith the soul that is taught of God; it is easier for me to dispense with ease, honour, relations, yea, with life itself, than to part with Christ, and the hopes of eternal life.
Lesson 12. Twelfthly, They that come to Christ, are taught of God, that whatever guilt and unworthiness they discover in themselves, and whatever fears and doubts are upon their hearts, as to pardon and acceptance; yet as the case stands, it is their wisdom and great interest to venture themselves in the way of faith, upon Jesus Christ, whatever the issue thereof be.
Three great discouragements are usually found upon the hearts of those that come to Christ in the way of faith.
First, The sensible greatness of guilt and sin. How can I go to Christ that am in such a case, that have been so vile a wretch? And here measuring the grace and mercy of Christ, by what it finds in itself, or in other creatures, 1 Sam. 24: 19. the soul is ready to sink under the weight of its own discouraging and mist giving thoughts.
Secondly, The sense they have of their own weakness and inability to do what God requires, and must of necessity be done, if ever they be saved. My heart is harder than adamant, how can I break it? My will is stubborn, and exceeding obstinate, I am no way able to bow it; the frame and temper of my spirit is altogether carnal, and earthly; and it is not in the power of my hand to alter and change it; alas! I cannot subdue any one corruption, nor perform one spiritual duty, nor bear one of those sufferings and burdens which religion lays upon all that follow Christ: this also proves a great discouragement in the way of faith.
Thirdly, And, which is more than all, the soul that is coming to Jesus Christ, has no assurance of acceptance with him, if it should adventure itself upon him: it is a great hazard, a great adventure; it is much more probable, if I look to myself, that Christ will shut the door of mercy against me.
But under all these discouragements the soul learns this lesson from God, That, as ungodly as it is, nevertheless it is every way its great duty and concernment to go on in the way of faith, and make that great adventure of itself upon Jesus Christ: and of this the Lord convinceth the soul by two things, viz.
1. From the absolute necessity of coming.
2. From the encouraging probabilities of speeding
First, The soul seeth an absolute necessity of coming: necessity is laid upon it, there is no other way, Acts 4: 12. God has shut it up by a blessed necessity to this only door of escape, Gal. 3: 23. Damnation lies in the neglect of Christ, Heb. 2:3. The soul has no choice in this case; angels, ministers, duties, repentance, reformation cannot save me; Christ, and none but Christ can deliver me from present guilt, and the wrath to come. Why do I dispute, demur, delay, when certain ruin must inevitably follow the neglect or refusal of gospel offers?
Secondly, The Lord sheweth those that are under his teaching, the probabilities of mercy, for their encouragement in the way of believing. And these probabilities the soul is enabled to gather from the general and free invitations of the gospel, Isa. 55: 1, 7. Rev. 22: 17. from the conditional promises of the gospel, John 6: 37. Mat. 11: 28. Isa. 1: 18. from the vast extent of grace, beyond all the thoughts and hopes of the creatures, Isa 55: 8, 9. Heb. 7:. 25. from the encouraging examples of other sinners, who have found mercy in as bad a condition as they, 1 Tim. 1: 13. 2 Chron. 23:3. 2 Cor. 6: 10, 11. from the command of God, which warrants the action, and answers all the objections of unworthiness and presumption in them that come to Christ, 1 John 3: 23. and lastly, from the sensible changes already made upon the temper and frame of the heart. Time was, when I had no sense of sin, nor sorrow for sin; no desire after Christ, no heart to duties. But it is not so with me now; I now see the evil of sin, so as I never saw it before; my heart is now broken in the sense of that evil; my desires begin to be enflamed after Jesus Christ; I am not at rest, nor where I would be, till I am in secret mourning after the Lord Jesus; surely these are the dawnings of the day of mercy; let me go on in this way. It saith, as the lepers at the siege of Samaria, 2 Kings 7: 8, 4. "If I stay here, I perish:" If I go to Christ I can but perish. Hence believers bear up against all objected discouragements, certum exitium commutemus incerto; it is the dictate of wisdom, the vote of reason, to exchange a certain for an uncertain ruin. And thus you have here what those excellent lessons are, which all that come to Christ are taught by the Father.
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