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SERM. who truly believe in Christ, and obey Him; they can want
nothing that is good, for they may have it for asking, if they do but ask it in His Name: for He Himself hath said to them, “ If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it.” And they who believe in Him, cannot but believe that He will do as He hath said; but they who do not believe He will, to them be sure He will not perform this promise: for it doth not belong to them, being made only to those who
will take His word, and accordingly believe that He will do Matt.21.22. what they pray for. “ All things,” saith He, “ whatsoever
ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” And, Mark 11.24. “ What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that
ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” This is that James 1. 6. which the Apostles mean, by praying in “faith, nothing 1 Tim. 2.8. wavering;” and “ without doubting.” And unless we thus
pray in faith, believing in Christ's promise, we do not truly ask in His Name, and then the promise doth not reach us. Wherefore, as ever we desire to experience the truth of this promise, we must do our Saviour so much justice, as to believe it, and then we may be confident He will make it good : that He can do it, we all know, in that He is Almighty; and that He will, we cannot doubt, in that He is truth itself, and hath said with His own Divine mouth, “ If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it.”
This is a thing much to be observed in all our prayers,
public and private, at Church and in our closets ; whensoever Matt.18.20. we meet together in His Name, our Lord hath told us, that
He is in the midst of us. And, whatsoever we ask in His name, He hath said, that He will do it: and therefore, in all our addresses to the Almighty Creator and Governor of the world, we must still have an eye to our blessed Saviour as interceding for us, and ask nothing but in His Name; and whatsoever it is that we ask in His Name, we must believe that He, according to His promise, will do it, when He sees it to be good for us. And herein lies the great mystery and art of praying ; which can never be attained without much study and exercise : they who seldom use it, can never do it as they ought; and then it is no wonder if they lose their labour : it is rather a wonder, how they can expect their prayers should be ever heard, when they do not think it worth their while to pray at all, unless it be when they have nothing else to do. And when they seem to pray, they do but seem to do it; they do not really pray according to God's command, and therefore have no ground to expect His promise should be performed to them. Whereas, they who exercise themselves continually in this great duty, learn by degrees to perform it, so as to be able to say upon their own experience, in the words of our church, “That what they ask faithfully, they obtain effectually through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I heartily wish that all here present would make trial of it; that ye would set yourselves in good earnest upon praying every day, both privately and publicly too, whensoever ye can get an opportunity; and, that ye would strive every day more and more, to keep your hearts close to the duty, and your faith fixed upon your Saviour, to perfume it with the incense of His merits, to make it acceptable unto God, till at length ye be able to pray always in His Name. Then ye will find by your own experience, that ye can no way employ yourselves better, nor so much to your profit and advantage: for ye can never be certain of getting any thing that is good any other way ; but this way there is nothing that is good but ye may be sure to have it, as sure as God's Word can make it, for He Himself hath said it: He that doth whatsoever He pleaseth, He that ordereth and disposeth of all the good things that are, He that cannot lie, He hath said, “ If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it."
CHRIST, AS MAN, IS THE HEAD OVER ALL THINGS.
Eph. i. 22, 23.
And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be
the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.
Although the most High God be infinitely happy in Himself, yet He made all things for Himself, to shew forth His wisdom, power, goodness, and all such perfections as could any way be exerted in the making of them. But if all things had continued in the same estate wherein He made them, there could not possibly have been any fit and proper objects for some other of His divine perfections to work upon ; and therefore He was pleased to suffer some of His creatures to fall from their first estate; as many of the Angels did in their own persons, and all mankind in their first parents. Upon the Angels that sinned, He immediately discovered His infinite justice, in condemning them to their deserved torments : but as for men, who fell, not as the other did, every one in his own person, but all in their common head, He was graciously pleased to find out a way, whereby to manifest His justice in the punishment of their sins, and yet to extend His mercy and truth unto their persons. This is the great mystery revealed in the Gospel ; where we find, that as God made all things by His Word,
He also redeemed mankind by the same Word, incarJohn 1. 14. nate; “ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
The Word, the eternal Word, the Only-begotten Son of God, of the same nature with the Father, He was made flesh; He took upon Him the whole nature of man, uniting it to His own Divine Person, so as to become man too, of the same nature with us.
How this mysterious union could be effected, it would be great presumption in us to inquire, who understand not so much as how our own souls and bodies are linked together, how spirit and matter could be so united as to make one person : it is sufficient for us to know what is revealed concerning it, even, that as the creation of the world, so this wonderful union was made by the immediate power of God; the Holy Ghost Itself, who at first moved upon the face of (Ger. 1. 2;
Luke 1.35.1 the waters, now coming upon, and overshadowing the Blessed Virgin, so as to cause her to conceive that holy thing, “ Emmanuel,” God and man in one person : who being thus conceived, He was afterwards born into the world, and in the nature of man, which He had so assumed, He grew up to the ordinary stature of other men, and then appeared publicly among them, discovering who He was, and what He came into the world about, by the miracles which He wrought, and the Divine doctrine which He taught them; until at last, “ being delivered by the determi- (Acts 2.23.] nate counsel and foreknowledge of God," He was taken, “and by wicked hands, was crucified and slain," as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind; but He was afterwards raised again to life, and went up to Heaven, where He hath been ever since, is now, and ever will be, the only Mediator between God and men.
This is that glorious and Divine Person, which is called Jesus, our Saviour; and He may well be called by that name, seeing it is only by Him that God manifested His mercy and truth to mankind, and therefore He is the only Saviour that men ever had, or can have in the world : “ For Acts 4. 12. there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” But by Him there is no man living but may be saved, if He will but apply himself to Him for it: which that we may do, it highly concerns us all to understand how great a person He is, and how “able to (Heb. 7. save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by Him ;" ** for otherwise it is impossible to believe and trust on Him, as we ought, for it. And therefore St. Paul determined,
1 Cor. 2. 2.
SERM. “ to know nothing among " the Corinthians, “save Jesus
- Christ, and Him crucified.” And St. Peter adviseth all to 2 Pet. 3. 18. “ grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ,” implying, that this is the only way whereby to understand how to believe in Him, and to address ourselves to Him, for all things necessary to our being saved by Him.
Now although there be nothing revealed in the Holy Scriptures concerning our blessed Saviour, but what was therefore revealed, that we may know it; yet there are some things, doubtless, more necessary to be known than others; especially such as more immediately respect the Offices which He undertook, in order to the accomplishing of our Salvation; as that He is the greatest Prophet of the world, that hath made known the Will of God to mankind; that He is an High-priest, to offer up sacrifice, and with that to make atonement and reconciliation for the sins of the world; and that He is a King, an Almighty King, that rules and reigns over the whole world : which last, although it be one of the fundamental articles of His religion; yet it is seldom thought of, or at least not so duly considered as it ought: and therefore I shall endeavour so to explain it to you, at this time, that you may be able to form such an idea or notion of it in your minds, which by the blessing of God may incline your hearts to love and honour Him, to obey and serve Him, to believe and trust on Him, and Him only, for all things required, in order to your obtaining eternal Salvation by Him. This I shall endeavour, by His assistance, to do from the words which I have now read; where the Apostle, speaking of what God did for Christ, after He had raised Him from the dead, saith, “ And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” In which words there are three things much to be observed:
First, That Christ is now the Head over all things.