David Black.

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and immortahty to light. It assures us,
that Christ, by dying and rising again, hath
deatroyed deaths and him that had the
power of death. It discloses unutterable
joys beyond the grave, in that blessed world
to which he will bring, in due time, all his
faithful followers. It teaches believers to

9^.11.5. INVITATION. 137

consider death as the entrance into Ufe eter-
nal ; and, though the path be gloomy, it
will assuredly lead them to the regions of
everlasting day ; though the passage may
be stormy, it will infallibly bring them safe
to the peaceful shore of ImmanueFs happy

Come then, my Friends, embrace this
blessed gospel, which presents such bright
and boundless prospects to our view. Trust
ih that almighty Saviour, who has conquer-
ed death, and secured the victory to all who
believe in his name. He will receive your
souls at death into his own blissful pre-
sence, and in the morning of the resurrec-
tion, even these vile bodies, which must soon
become the food of worms, shall he fashion-
ed like unto his glorious hody, according to
the zi)orking of that mighty ponder, where-
by he is able to subdue all things unto him-
self. Then shall be brought to pass the
saying that is written. Death is sioallowed
up in victory. death ! wliere is thy
sting ? grave ! where is thy victory '^
The stino- of death is sin ; and the strenoth


158 THE GOSPEt SER. ^.

of sin is the law. But thanks he to God,
which giveth 21s the victory through our
Lord Jesus Christ. I proceed now, as was

II. To explain the extent of the invita-
tion, and particularly to shew the absolute
freeness with which the blessings of the gos-
pel are bestowed on all who are willing to
receive them.

The extent of the invitation is expressed
in these words, Whosoever will. This gives
encouragement to every returning sinner
who feels his need of mercy, and is willing
to recei^^ the blessings of salvation, what-
ever his former character, or however great,
numerous, and highly aggravated his of-
fences in the sight of God may have been.
None are excluded from partaking of the
blessings of salvation, but those who exclude
themselve.s. The water of life is freely be-
stowed on every one who is willing to re-
ceive it.


This is a precious, and most comfortable
truth. It is the glory of the Christian
scheme, the hope of sinners, and the song
of the Redeemed before the throne. It is
the uniform doctrine of the Scriptures, and
particularly conspicuous in every page of
the New Testament. It was frequently the
subject of our Lord's discourses. He taught,
that in point of acceptance with God, the
Jew and the Greek, the poor and the rich,
the decent and the profligate, are precisely
on the same footing. And because many
of the Jews, on account of their peculiar pri-
vileges, trusted in themselves that they were
righteous, and despised others, he said to
them in plain terms, (Matt. xxi. 3i.) Verily
I say unto you., that the publicans and the
harlots go into the kingdom of heaven be-
fore you. On another occasion, he solemn-
ly assured them, that they shall come from
the east and from the zoest, and from the
north and from the souths and shall sit
down in the kingdom of God, wliile the
children of the kingdom are thrust out.
When he was in the house of Simon the
Pharisee, a woman that was a sinner came



into the house, and began to wash his feet
with her tears, and to wipe them with the
hairs of her head. Instead of reproving
her, or forbidding her approach, he kindly
encouraged and comforted her, by declar-
ing, that hej' sins^ which were many, were
forgiven her ; at the same time telling the
proud Pharisee, that because much had been
forgiven her, therefore she loved much.
So remarkable Mas tliis conduct of our bles,s-
ed Lord, that his enemies called him, by
way of reproach. The Friend, of imblicans
and sinners. Nor did the merciful Saviour
disdain the appellation : They that are
whole, he said, 7ieed not a physician, but
they that are sick. I came not to call the
righteous, but sijinei's to repentance.

Hew often do we find him, in the course
of his public ministry, inviting sinners of e-
very description to come to him for the
blessings of salvation. Cofue unto me, all
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest. If any man thirst, let
him come unto me and drink. And, for the
encouragement of all, he declares, that none


who come to him shall be rejected. Him
that Cometh unto me, I zcill in no wise cast
out. " In no wise," — that is, on no account
w^hatever, be his sins ever so numerous, or
his guilt ever so aggravated. Nay, we find
him complaining, with the tenderest pity,
of the unwillinoness of sinners to come to
him. Ye will not come to me, he said, that
ye might have life. Jemsalem, Jerusa-
lem I thou that killest the prophets, and
sionest thoa wliich are sent unto thee, how
often would I have gathered thy children
together, even as a hen gathereth her chic-
kens under her wings, and ye would not.
To crown the whole, such was the compas-
sion of our great and gracious Redeemer,
that he laid dovrn his life upon a cross, as
a ransom for many ; declaring with his dy-
ing breath, It is finished ; and displaying,
in the midst of the greatest sufferings, the
boundless extent of his grace, by extending
mercy to a penitent thief who was crucified
along with him, and praying for his very
nnirderers in these astonishing words, Fa^
t her, forgive them, for they know not zi)hat
they do.


When our blessed Lord rose again from
the dead, he discovered still more plainly,
the nature of his kingdom, and the extent
of that salvation which he had procured by
his obedience unto death, by commission-
ing his apostles to teach and baptize all na-
tions, and to preach the gospel to every
creature. Accordingly, we find the apostles,
after the ascension of their Lord, and the
pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day
of Pentecost, publishing the glad tidings of
salvation in the name of a crucified and ris-
en Saviour ; and declaring to all who heard
them, that they who believe in his name,
are justified from all things, ajid shall never
come into condemnation.

Every one who is tolerably acquainted with
the writings of the apostles, particularly with
the epistles of Paul, and who reads them
with any degree of candour, and freedom
from prejudice, must be sensible, that the
doctrine which the apostles taudit, was, like
that of their great Master, the doctrine of
free grace. How fully and clearly does
Paul, the great i^postle of the Gentiles, vin-


dicate and explain this doctrine in his epis-
tles to the Romans and Galatians, as well as
in other parts of his writings. He there
lays it down as a certain and undeniable
truth, that all have sinned aiid come short
of the glory of God ; that, in consequence
of this, the whole world is hecoine guilty
before God ; so that there is none risrhte-
o?/5, no not one. From which he draws
this evident conclusion, that hy the deeds of
the law, that is, by our own works or per-
formances of any kind, no flesh living can
he justified in the sight of God. Having
thus shut up all hope from any other quar-
ter, the apostle proceeds to unfold the gos-
pel method of salvation, in all its grace and
glory, its fulness and freeness. He declares,
that the righteousness of God, which is by
faith of Jesus Christ, is unto all, and upon
all them that believe ; for there is no dif-
ference, being justified freely by his grace,
through the redemption that is in Jesuf?
Christ. To him that worketh, is the re-
ward not reckoned of grace, but of debt ;
but to him that zcorkcth not, but believeth
mi him that just ifieth the ungodly, his faith


is counted for righteousness. And ao-ain,
Therefore it is of faith that it might be bif
grace. Jf there had been a law which
could have given life, verihf righteousness
should have been by the law. But the
.scripture hath concluded all under sin, that
the promise, bi/ faith of Jesus, 7night be
given to them that believe.

This is the doctrine of free grace, the an-
cient apostoUc gospel, which excludes all
boasting, denies any merit or worthiness to
the creature, and ascribes the whole of our
salvation, from first to last, to the sovereign
mercy of God, and the all^perfect redemp-
tion of Jesus Christ. Here a sure and broad
foundation is laid for the sinner's hope, suit-
ed to every case, and able to support in the
utmost extremity. All are invited to par-
take of blessings, to which none have any
superior claim above their fellow-sinners ;
and all who receive them, receive them in
the same way, without money, and without

SER. &i i^VlTATIO^. 145

Nor is there any clanger that this doc-
trine, so reviving to the mind of the awak-
ened sinner, should prove unfriendly to the
interests of morality, by opening a wide
door to licentiousness. The apostle foresaw
this objection, and has answered it ; What
then, says he, shall we continue in sin that
grace mai/ abound f God forbid I Hozsi
shall we that are dead to sin live any long"
er therein ? The doctrine of grace may be
abused by those who do not rightly under-
stand its nature or feel its influence ; but
when properly understood, and cordially be-
lieved, it will not fail to produce the fruits
of universal holiness. Good works, though
they are neither the cause, nor the condi-
tion of our acceptance with God, are the
necessary fruits and effects of it. Salvation
is freely bestowed by the grace of God,
through the redemption that is in Jesus
Christ ; but this salvation, it ought to be re-
membered, includes in it deliverance frora
sin, as well as from punishment ; and a dis-
position to obey the will of God, as well as
a title to future happiness. To conceal,
then, or to limit the freeness of the gospel



offer, "from fear of the abuse that may be
made of it, is presuming to be wiser thai*
God. It is unfaithfulness to his testimony?
to join any thing whatever with the righte-
ousness of Christ, as the ground of a sin-
ner's justification before God. And it is
cruelt}^ to the souls of men, to withhold from
then' view the unsearchable riches of Christ,
and the boundless extent of his grace. For
this is a faithful sayings and worthy of all
acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the
rtorld to save even the chief of sinners.

I conclude all that hath now been
said, with a full and explicit declaration
of the freeness of this salvation which
the gospel reveals. The Spirit and the
Bride say, Come ; and let him that heareth
•Siiy, Come; and let him that is athirst come.
Hearken, ye stout hearted and rebellious,
that are far from righteousness ; — hearken,
ye aged sinners, and ye young ;— hearken^
ye proud self-righteous Pharisees, who are
vainly compassing yourselves about with
sparks of your own kindling ; — and, ye o-
pen, daring trangressors, who are proclaim-


ing your sins as Sodom, and your wicl

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Online LibraryDavid BlackSermons on important subjects → online text (page 8 of 23)