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at such trouble and expense to prepare a place for us, and shall we be no more solicitous to prepare a place for Him ? Shall he provide mansions for us in heaven, and shall we deny him a place where to lay his head on earth? Let gratitude to Jesus, let love to our own souls, engage us to provide for his entertainment. Let us prepare a place for him here, in his house, by the soundness of our doctrine, by the strictness of our discipline, by the sincerity and fervour of our worship. Let us invite and secure his presence, that this may be the habitation which he hath chosen, the place where he will delight to dwell : that here he may walk amidst the golden candlesticks, and command a blessing on many souls, on all our souls, even life for evermore.
Let us prepare a place for him in our houses. Let family sins be repented of and forsaken ; let family duties be remembered and practised ; that Christ may come and bring salvation to our houses, and be a frequent guest, if not a constant inhabitant there.
Let us prepare a place for him in our hearts. Let us put away all filthiness, both of Aesh and spirit; let us drive out the buyers and sellers, vain thoughts and carnal affections, that our souls may be pure temples for the living God, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, and that, abiding in Christ, and Christ abiding in us, we may bear much fruit.
In short, while Christ is busy in heaven, let not us be idle on earth. Let us be as zealous in his cause, as he is in ours; and, in a little while, he that shall come will come, and will not tarry; and his reward is with him: and then all those places, which he hath prepared in glory, shall be filled with those whom he hath prepared by grace; and, with Christ in us, and God in Christ, we shall be all made perfect in one.
(April 1, 1781.]
JOHN XVI. 27.
FOR THE FATHER HIMSELF LOVETII YOU,
You have heard this many times to-day. O! christians, I could repeat it ever so many times more; “The Father himself loveth you.” It is Christ himself that says so; and he must surely know whether it be so or not. But I want no one to tell me so.
Such a feast, and myself invited, are sufficient demonstrations of his love. If he had not loved me, would he have done such great things for me? Would he have at all concerned himself about me? But, especially, would he have sent his Son to seek and save me ? Would he have bruised him and put him to grief, and made his soul an offering for my sin ? If he had not loved me, would he have bid me look unto Jesus? Would he have called me, and inclined and enabled me to come ? If he had not loved me, would he have brought me into his banquetting house? I was perishing with hunger, and all through my own fault. I
had left his house, and squandered his bounties; and if he had left me to starve, he would have done right, for I had done wickedly. But would he have rescued me from death; would he have made me to eat angels' food, if he had not loved me? Yes, yes; the evidences of his love are clear enough. But it is the effects of his love, and its influences upon my heart, that I want more to see.
Come then, christians, muse upon this Divine love till the fire burn. What grace would you wish to exercise at this time? Perhaps you would be glad to have your hearts more humbled and broken for sin. Why, then, think of the love of God: nothing will make the reflection of your sins wound deeper. There are, indeed, many other aggravations; as when sins are committed against light and knowledge, against checks of conscience and sacramental views. But if your hearts are impressed with a sense of their having been committed against the love of God, it will affect and humble you more than all the rest. What, O my soul, has the blessed God had me in his thoughts so early and so often? Has he been continually thinking how to save and bless me, and to do me good in time and to eternity? What a most ungrateful wretch then have I been, to live so much without God in the world as I have done! to have him so little in my thoughts ! Does he love to think of me, and shall it be a burden to me to set apart a time for Divine meditation ?
Again, Has he expressed a desire to have me with him, and appointed the time and place; and been always so punctual to the appointment, as if it were important to meet me and bless me with some new discoveries and communications of his love, what a wretch have I been, to discover such a backwardness to attend upon him ! such an indifference about his presence; as if I could be content with coming hither, whether I saw him or not! Has God expressed such a delight in my prayers; and assured me, that come as often as I would I should be welcome? What a stupid wretch am I to pray so seldom, and to put him off with such cold formal distracted prayers, as if I went on purpose to affront him ! How could I so abuse his kindness? Has God been so quick as to resent any injury done to me? has he been always as tender of me as of the apple of his eye? But, alas ! where has been my resentment of injuries and affronts offered to him? How often have I seen and heard his name dishonoured, and his commandments broken, with all the indifference and unconcern imaginable! Has God been so profuse in his gifts to me, gifts of providence, and gifts of grace, and kept back nothing that would do me good ? How inexcusable is it in me, to think a little of my time, and a little of my substance to be