A WORD OF EXHORTATION, BY MR.
ANDREW GRAY, AT KIRKLISTOUN,
Upon the 12th of June, 1653.
THERE are two great books that you have to read? there
is Christ, and yourselves. And I think, when he have read over the first page
of the first book, 0 ye may wonder how dark his name is? I say, ye cannot
imagine a necessity that hinders you from closing with Christ, but he hath
taken a name to answer it.
I think there are seven great questions that
hinder a Christians closing with Christ; and all are answered in that
excellent name that Christ hath taken to himself, in Exod. xxxiv. 6.
is that first and great objection, I dare not come. Why? because I am
polluted and defiled. Is it not answered in that letter of his name, He is the
Lord God, merciful and gracious? And though we be sinful, he can make mercy
triumph over judgment.
The second objection why men will not come to
Christ, is this, 0, say ye, I have nothing to commend myself to him. What want
ye? I want a heart to come with, and I want ornaments, and excellent robes. I
would ask this question at you, want ye imperfections? 0, say ye, I have many:
then ye want not something to come with: and that is answered in that letter of
his name, He is gracious; there is a blessed freedom in the exercise of his
The third objection that stops you from closing with Christ,
is this, I have not only offended this day, but I have done it of old: and that
is answered from that letter of his name, It is the suffering. Christ cannot be
out-wearied in long-suffering.
The fourth objection is this, 0, I am
not only a sinner, but I shall tell you a confession of faith, Job xxii. 5, Are
not my sins great? And is not that answered from that letter of his name, He is
abundant in grace and goodness? 0 that noble victory that love shall have over
justice, if we may imagine that there can be any contest between them; for this
court hath reconciled righteousness and love; Righteousness and love did kiss
The fifth objection is this, 0 how many covenants have I
broken, and how dare I to come to Christ? Is not that answered from that letter
of his name, He is abundant in truth? I shall tell you Christs carriage
and believers in the way to heaven, in one word; there is not a day but we lose
our grips of Christ; but 0, he never loses his grips of us. Did ye never see
friends embrace each other? So it is, when we lose our grips of Christ, those
everlasting arms of his embrace us: those arms that did first pluck us out of
hell, have to pull us into heaven. 0 for that pull that we shall never desire
The sixth objection is this, I know, Christ is gracious;
but here the debate stands, I know not if he will be merciful to me; I think,
he will name his curses to me; and is there not a letter in our blessed
Lords name that answers that too, He keeps mercy unto thousands? Friends,
(if I may call you so) what wot ye, but ye are among those, Exod. xxxiv. 7. And
if ye be in amongst them, O bless him for it. I think, if there were no more in
scripture to commend precious Christ, it were more than sufficient. Are there
not thousands in heaven, sirs? 0 but we will be a fair company, if we were once
all together; we shall be like olive plants round about his table. 0 blessed be
he, that hath his quiver full of these blessed thousands.
Now have ye any
more to say? Yes, I have one thing, and if it were answered, I ought to debate
no more: what is that? I am under the power of sin against light, and after
resolutions, and under breach of covenants at sacraments: and do ye think, that
I dare come to Christ? Yes, ye shall never be welcomer, than when ye bring a
burden on your back. Were ye under sins against light, and against free love,
and after vows? Yet there is a letter in his name that answers that; 0 read it,
for it is full of love, He forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin. Ye think,
what needs all these three words? They are not needless repetitions, but that
ye may be persuaded that there is no sin ye can be under, but love can answer
it; love was never put to a non-plus; yet all your objections may be cut off
with this, It is his will, that we should believe on him, and in hopes that ye
will engage, we give you the sacrament, Take and eat: This is even like two
married persons, putting their hands to a contract: here the great seal is put
to Christs contract; and all that is required of you, is, to put to your
hands to the contract.
0, say ye, I cannot write - yet say, we will put our
hand to Christs, and let him lead the pen, and say, even so, I take him
to be my Lord and Husband, and do vow and covenant to be a dutiful wife unto
him. Eat and drink upon these terms. Do ye not think that there are many eyes
in heaven? And yet (if so we may speak) there is not one eye in heaven, that is
not fixed on him. Are there not many hands in heaven? And would you know what
they are doing? They are all taking Christ in their arms. And is not this a
mystery, that so many thousands should get a grip of Christ at once? 0 but they
be a heartsome company! They are eyewitnesses to our communion this day.
Though, I think, if they reflect on us, they would even pity us, that there is
so great difference between us and them.
I shall say no more; but, 0 to
have been present when that glorious person Jesus Christ was hanging between
heaven and earth! What would you have said? Might you not have cried out that
word that David hath to another purpose, Let thy hand be against me and my
fathers house? What hath that spotless Lamb done? I shall not determine
that question, whether angels, and Abraham, and the twelve patriarchs saw, when
he was hanging between heaven and earth? But such a sight it was, as we desire,
ye may have your faith in exercise upon - viz: a crucified Saviour.
give you three parts of his blessed body, that ye should kiss at a communion.
There are some that cannot kiss his mouth, it is a great act of presumption;
but they would kiss his feet, to testify their love; and his hands, to testify
their subjection; and they may kiss his rosy lips, that once waxed pale, to
testify their communion and fellowship with him. I would say this now, let this
bread be a witness against you in the day of the Lord, if ye be not content to
take him. I remember a word of one that was determined in a thing, and was
desired to be deliberate: he answered, needed no deliberation in so good a
thing. So I think, ye need no advisement to take Christ. Ye may take him upon
implicit faith; for he will not disappoint you: take him upon his word. Himself
make you to do so. Amen, and Amen.
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