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cept those offered mercies, as the free unmerited gifts of his bounty and grace. This accordingly is perfectly agreeable to other passages of Scripture, particularly to that gracious proclamation and call, Isa. lv. 1. to which the counsel here offered has a very near resemblance :-" Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price.” Which last expression, “ without price," seems to have been added, on purpose to guard against any wrong sense that might otherwise have been put upon the word buying. A person who wants money, may have other things of value to trade with, but here they are called to buy, not only without money, but without price; that is, in plain language, to buy and pay nothing, which is only another way of expressing the humble and thankful acceptance of a gift. It is even probable that our Saviour chose this rather than another expression, to signify that their acceptance should not be rash and hasty, but deliberate and well advised; and at the same time to assure them, that upon their acceptance, these invaluable blessings should become as truly and irrevocably theirs, as if they had really bought them, and given a full and ade. quate price for them.
Thus have I opened the meaning of this coun.
sel or adviceman advice seasonable at all times, and peculiarly adapted to the occasion of our present meeting. The character of those to whom it was originally addressed, would lead me to speak to proud self-justifiers, who, like the lukewarm Laodiceans, imagine themselves to be rich and increased with goods, and to stand in need of nothing. Might I stay accurately to examine your supposed righteousness, I think I could say several things to make you ashamed of them, and to convince you that they are all but filthy rags. But this would require more time than we have to spare. All I can do for you is to pray, and beg that others would pray, that God may pity you, and open your eyes. I hope there are some now hearing me of a different character, to whom I reckon myself more immediately a debtor, I mean those whose eyes are so far opened, as to see that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. It is to you, my dear friends, that our Saviour doth this day address the advice in my text :
“ I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich ; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.”
What have you to object against this advice? -Are not these the very things you need ? are they not exactly suited to your state and circum
stances ?--Would you not think yourselves bound to bless God eternally, for giving you such a rich and full supply? I think I may reasonably take all this for granted. What discourages you then? -You say you are unworthy. I ask you, Where does Christ speak as if he supposed you to be worthy ? Were this a secret known only to yourselves, you might indeed have cause to dread a discovery; but the Lord Jesus knew this before you knew it. Nay, if he had not told you of it, I dare venture to affirm you should never have found it out, I mean in this world, for death and judgment will clear up all mistakes. Why then do you make objections where Christ makes none ?-Is his honour dearer to you than to himself ?-Does he not know how to dispense his mercy till you have taught him ?
I charge you to beware of such presumptuous conceits. It is because you are poor, and blind, and naked, that he counsels you to come to him for the supplies here offered.
But does he not speak of buying; and what price can I offer him for such inestimable blessings ? I have already told you what I take to be the meaning of that expression ;-but as this objection is of a very deadly nature, and commonly proves one of the strongest bars in mens way to Christ, it is necessary to examine it with some more accuracy. And, first, I must ask those who make the objection, Are you really willing to take
these blessings for nothing, if you can get them ? Do not answer rashly, for I apprehend there is a secret deceit within you, that you are not aware of.-Say, would it not give you a mighty satis. faction, if you could discover something in yourselves that might entitle you to these blessings, or, at least, that might incline or dispose Christ to bestow them upon you ? Would it not give you some courage, if you could shed more penitent tears for sin, if you felt more love for God and the Redeemer, or if you were more exact and blameless in your conduct and behaviour ? And are you not secretly displeased with yourselves, that you cannot attain to these things before you apply to Christ for his aid ? If this is the case, allow me to put your objection in its proper form. . It is not, as you apprehend, I have nothing to give to Christ as a price for his benefits; but I have not enough.-My stock is too small to buy such an inheritance; and till it is better improven, it is vain for me to hope that my offer can be accepted. Alas ! my brethren, it is plain from this, that pride is at the root of your objection, though it has artfully put on the form of humili. ty; at the bottom, you are pleased with the notion of buying, and are only vexed that you have not enough to give. You secretly dream that, by diligence and good management, you may at length acquire something that may deserve the favourable regards of the Redeemer; and there
fore, once for all, I must tell you, that, notwithstanding your mournful complaints of poverty, you are really far poorer than you suppose yourselves to be. You not only want a price in the mean time, but you shall never be able to find a price that bears the smallest proportion to the blessings you need; and Christ, who shed his blood to purchase these benefits, will never sell them below their value. The truth is, he does not intend to dispose of them in that way. Though he bought them at a high rate, he gives them away freely, and gives them only to those who, disclaiming all merit and worthiness in themselves, are willing to receive them merely as an alms, to which they neither have, nor can have,
• Let me therefore intreat you to come to him, poor and naked as you are. It is his own counsel, and, as I told you, he is the true and faithful Witness. You may depend upon his word, and shall never have cause to repent your following his advice. Come, then, O sinners, at his call, and believe it, that he is more willing to give you the blessings here spoken of, than you are or can be to ask them from him. You honour the truth of Christ when you obey his summons; whereas, you directly give him the lie, and call him a false and flattering witness, when, upon any pretence whatever, you keep at a distance from him, and question his readiness to perform what he hath