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CHAP. I.

What it is to make light of Christ.

THE blessed Son of God, who thought it not enough to die for the World, but would himself also be the Preacher of Grace and Salvation, comprizes the Substance of his Gospel in the Parable to which the Text belongs. By the King, that is here said to make the Marriage, is meant God the Father, who, sent his Son into the World, to cleanse Men from their Sins, and espouse them to himself. By the King’s Son, for whom the Marriage is made, is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of 6God, who took to his Godhead the Nature of Man, that he might be capable of being their Redeemer when they had lost themselves in Sin. By the Marriage is meant the uniting of Christ to the Souls of Sinners, when he gives up himself to them to be their Saviour, and they give up themselves to him, as his redeemed, to be saved and ruled by him. The Perfection of this Marriage will be at the Day of Judgment, when the Union between Christ and his whole Church shall be publickly solemnized. The Word here translated Marriage, rather signifys the Marriage Feast, and intimates, that all Men are invited by the Gospel to come in and partake of Christ and Salvation, even all the peculiar Blessings of Christ’s Disciples. The Invitation is from the blessed God. The Servants that invite, are the Preachers of the Gospel, who are sent by God for that Purpose. The Preparation, for the Feast, is the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the opening a Way for Sinners to return to God. Second Messengers are said to be sent, because God takes not the first Denial, but exercises his Patience till Sinners are obstinate. The first Persons invited, are theJews. But on their obstinate Refusal, and being sentenced to Punishment, the Gentiles are invited, and graciously prevailed with to come in. ‘The Number of those that come in, is so great, that the House is filled with Guests. .Many come sincerely, regarding not only the Pleasure of the Feast, but the Honour of the Marriage; not only seeking the Pardon of Sin, and Deliverance from divine Wrath, but engaging themselves to Christ in all holy Obedience. Some come in only for the Feast, without having the Wedding-Garment; they only aim at Self, and not at glorifying, and serving their Redeemer. These last are 7 sentenced to everlasting Misery, and speed as ill as those that refused to come in at all; for a Faith that will not work, is but like that of the Devils; and they that expect to be pardoned and saved by such a Faith, are mistaken.

The Words of the Text describe the bad Entertainment which the Gospel finds with many to whom it is sent, even after a first and second Invitation. They make light of it, and are taken up with other Things. Tho’ the Jews were the first that were thus guilty, yet too among us Gentiles follow them to this Day. The Text in Effect declares, that nowithstanding all the wonderful Love and Mercy God has manifested in giving his Son to be the Redeemer of the World, and his Son in giving himself, and in being a sufficient Sacrifice for Sin; notwithstanding all Christ’s personal Excellencies, and the full and glorious Salvation he has purchased, and all his free Offers, and frequent and earnest Invitations to Sinners; yet many make light of, and despise all this, prefer their worldly Enjoyments before it.” Not that all do so, or that they all continue to do so, who were once guilty of it. God has his Chosen, whom he will compel to come in. But till the Spirit of Grace overcome the Obstinacy of Men’s Hearts, they hear the Gospel as a Tale that is told, and the great Things contained in it, are disregarded. More distinctly to illustrate the Sentiments of the Text, this Chapter will shew what it is to make light of Christ; and (Chap. 2) why Christ is made so light of: Then (Chap. 3) will be suggested some Considerations to awaken those that make light of Christ; and also (Chap. 4) other Considerations to reform them: To which will be added (Chap. 5) Directions 8for those that desire to make light of Christ no more.

That which carnal Hearers make light of, includes in it, Christ himself, and the Blessings, which he bestows.—Concerning Christ himself, the Gospel declares his Person and Nature, and the great Things he has done and suffered for Men, his redeeming us from the Wrath of God by his Blood, and purchasing a Grantof Salvation for us. The same Gospel makes an Offerof Christ to Sinners, that if they will accept him on his easy and reasonable Terms, he will be their Saviour, the Physician of their Souls, their Head, and their Husband.—the Blessings which Christ bestows upon Sinners, are the Pardon of all their past Sins, and Deliverance from the Wrath of God, and a sure Way of obtaining Pardon for all the Sins they shall commit hereafter, provided they obey sincerely, and turn not again to the Rebellion of their unregenerate State. They shall have the Holy Spirit to be their Guide and Sanctifier, to dwell in their Souls, to help them against their spiritual Enemies, and conform them more and more to a divine Likeness, to heal their spiritual Diseases, and bring them back to God. They shall, also have a right to everlasting Glory, when this Life is ended, and their Bodies shall be raised up to partake of it at the great Day. Besides these, they shall have many excellent Priviledges and Means, abundant Preservation and Provision in their Way, and the Foretaste of their future Joy. All these Blessings the Gospel offers to them that will accept of Christ on his reasonable Terms. For this is the Record, that God hath given to us eternal Life; and this Life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath Life, and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not Life.

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The Sin of making light of Christ and Salvation appears in the following Instances.

1. When Men take no great Heed to what the Gospel declares, as if it was not a certain Truth, or else was a Matter that little concerned them, or as if God had not written it for them.

2. When the Gospel does not affect Men, or go to their Hearts; but tho’ they seem to attend to what is said, yet they are not awakened by it from their Security, nor doth it in any Measure excite such holy Emotions in their Souls, as Things of such everlasting Consequence ought to do. We tell Men what Christ hath done and suffered for their Souls, and it scarce moves them. We tell them of keen and cutting Truths, but Nothing will pierce them. We can make them hear, but cannot make them feel. Our Words stop in the Porch of their Ears and Fancies, but enter not into their inward Parts. It is as if we spake to Men that have not Hearts. Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive. For the Heart of this People is waxed gross, and their Ears are dull of hearing, and their Eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, and understand with their Heart, and should be converted, and Christ should heal them.

3. Men make light of Christ, when they have no high Esteem for him and Salvation by him, but whatsoever they may say with their Tongues, or may speculatively believe, yet in their serious and practical Thoughts they have a higher Esteem for the Things of this World, than they have for Christ and the Salvation he hath purchased. It is despising Christ, to account his Doctrine but a Question of Words and Names, like Gallio; or a Superstition of one Jesus, 10which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive, like Festus; or to ask the Preachers of the Gospel, as the Athenians did, What will this Babler say?

Men make light of Christ, when being informed of the Truths of the Gospel, on what Terms Christ and his Blessings may be had, how it is the Will of God they should believe and accept the Offer, and how he commands them to do it upon Pain of Damnation; and yet they will not consent, unless they could have Christ on Terms of their own. They will not part with their Portion in this World, nor lay down their Pleasures, Profits, and Honours at the Feet of Jesus, to be content to take only so much of them back, as is consistent with his Will and Interest, but think it a hard saying, to be resolved to forsake all for Christ. ’Tis a high Contempt Of Christ and everlasting Life, when Men might have their Part in him, if they would; but they will not, unless they may keep the World too, and are resolved to please their Flesh, whatever be the Consequence.

It is also a making light of Christ and Salvation, when Men will promise fair, and profess their Willingness, to have Christ upon his own Terms, and to forsake all for him; but they nevertheless cleave to the World, and to their sinful Courses, nor will suffer their Practice to be changed by all that Christ hath done or said.—This is the Sin of making light of Christ and Salvation.

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