Objections taken from a Man’s Unworthiness, and the heinousness of his Sin, answered.
Object. I am so base, worthless, and weak of myself, that I think it were high presumption for me to meddle with Christ Jesus, or the salvation purchased with the price of his blood.
Ans. It is true, all the children of Adam are base and wicked before him, “who chargeth his angels with folly:” “All nations are less than nothing, and vanity before him.” There is such a disproportion between God and men, that unless he himself had devised that covenant, and of his own freewill had offered so to transact with men, it had been high treason for men or angels to have imagined that God should have humbled himself, and become a servant, and have taken on our nature, and have united it by a personal union to the blessed Godhead; and that he should have subjected himself to the shameful death of the cross; and all this, that men, who were rebels, should be reconciled unto God, and be made eternally happy, by being in his holy company for ever.
But I say, all this was his own device and free choice: yea, moreover, if God had not sovereignly commanded men so to close with him in and through Christ, no man durst have made use of that device of his: “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.” “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.”
So then, although with Abigail I may say, “Let me be but a servant, to wash the feet of the servants of my lord,” yet, since he hath in his holy wisdom devised that way, and knows how to be richly glorified in it: “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know – what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” “All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them;” and he hath commanded me, as I shall be answerable in the great day, to close with him in Christ: as I have stated, I dare not disobey, nor inquire into the reasons of his contrivances and commands, but must comply with the command, as I would not be found to “frustrate the grace of God,” and in a manner disappoint the gospel, and falsify “the record which God hath borne of his Son, that there is life enough in him for men,” and so “make God a liar,” and add that rebellion to all my former transgressions.
Object. I am a person singularly sinful, beyond any I know; therefore I dare not presume to go near to Christ Jesus, or look after that salvation which is through his righteousness.
Ans. Is your sin beyond the drunkenness and incest of Lot; adultery covered with murder in David; idolatry and horrid apostacy in Solomon; idolatry, murder, and witchcraft in Manasseh; anger against God and his way in Jonah; forswearing of Christ in Peter, after he was forewarned, and had vowed the contrary; bloody persecution in Paul, making the saints to blaspheme? etc. but woe to him who is emboldened to sin by these instances recorded in Scripture, and adduced here to the commendation of the free and rich grace of God, and to encourage poor penitent sinners to flee unto Christ. I say, are your sins beyond these? yet all these obtained pardon through Christ, as the Scripture doth show.
Know, therefore, that all sins are equal before the free grace of God, “who loveth freely,” and looketh not to less or more sin. If the person have a heart to “come unto him through Christ, then he is able to save to the uttermost.” Yea, it is more provoking before God, not to close with Christ when the offer comes to a man, than all the rest of his transgressions are; for “he that believeth not hath made God a liar, in that record he hath borne of life in the Son.” “And he who doth not believe, shall be condemned for not believing on the Son of God.” That shall be the main thing in his duty; so that much sin cannot excuse a man, if he reject Christ, and refuse his offer; since God hath openly declared, that “this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ came to save sinners, whereof I am chief.” Even he who is chief of sinners in his own apprehension, is bound to believe and accept this saying.
Object. My sins have some aggravating circumstances beyond the same sins in other persons, which doth much terrify me.
Ans. What can the aggravations of thy sins be, which are not paralleled in the foregoing examples? Is thy sin against great light? so behooved many of these we spake of before. Was it against singular mercies and deliverances? so was that of Lot’s and Noah’s drunkenness. Was thy sin done with much deliberation? so was David’s, whilst he wrote the letter against Uriah. Was it against or after any singular manifestation of God? so was Solomon’s. Was it by a small and despicable temptation? so was that of Jonah and of Peter, if we consider the heinousness of their transgression. Hast thou reiterated the sin, and committed it over again? so did Lot, so did Peter, so did Jehoshaphat, in joining with Ahab and Jehoram. Are there many gross sins concurring together in thee? so were there in Manasseh. Hast thou stood long out in rebellion? that, as the former, is thy shame; but so did the “thief on the cross;” he stood it out to the last hour. If yet “thou hast an ear to hear,” thou art commanded “to hear.” Although thou hast long “spent thy money for that which is not bread,” thou hast the greater need now to make haste, and to flee for refuge; and if thou do so, he shall welcome thee, and “in no wise cast thee out,” especially, since he hath used no prescription of time in Scripture. So that all those aggravations of thy sm will not excuse thy refusing the Lord’s offer.
Object. In all these instances given, you have not named the particulars of which I am guilty; nor know I any who ever obtained mercy before God, being guilty of such things as are in me.
Ans. It is difficult to condescend upon every particular transgression which may vex the conscience yea, lesser sins than some of those I have mentioned may greatly disquiet, if the Lord awaken a sense of guilt. But, for thy satisfaction, I shall condescend upon some truths of Scripture, which do reach sins and cases more universally than any man can do particularly: “God pardoneth iniquity, transgression, and sin;” that is, all manner of sin. “If a man turn from all his wickedness, it shall no more be remembered, or prove his ruin.” “Him that cometh, he will in no wise cast out;” that is, whatsoever be his sins, or the aggravations of them. “Whosoever believeth shall have everlasting life;” that is, without exception of any sin, or any case. “He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him” – no man can sufficiently declare what is God’s uttermost. “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men;” that is, there is no sort of sin, whereof one instance shall not be forgiven in one person or other, “except the sin against the Holy Ghost.”
These and the like Scriptures carry away all sorts of sin before them: so that, let thy sins be what they will, or can be, they may be sunk in one of these truths; so that thy sin can be no excuse to thee for refusing the offer of peace and salvation through Christ, since “any man who will,” is allowed to “come and take.” We will not multiply words: the great God of heaven and earth hath sovereignly commanded all who see their need of relief to betake themselves unto Christ Jesus, and to close cordially with God’s device of saving sinners by him, laying aside all objections and excuses, as they shall be answerable unto him in the day he shall judge the quick and the dead, and shall drive from his presence all those who would dare to say, their sins and condition were such as that they durst not adventure upon Christ’s perfect righteousness for their relief, notwithstanding of the Lord’s own command often interposed, and in a manner his credit engaged.