"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. Wherefore do ye spend
your money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which
satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and
let your soul delight itself in fatness."Isaiah lv. 1,
We spake, I. Of the proclamation making way for our
coming to this gospel market in the words, "Ho, every one."
II. We spake of
the intimation of the goods to be had in this markets which were "water,"
"wine," and "milk," which hold forth Christ and all that is in Him.
spake of the party that were invited to come and close with Jesus Christ. Now
we come to speak,
IV. Of the fourth particular in the method, which is to
speak of our closing with Christ which lies in these three things -
Coming; (2.) Buying; and (3.) Eating.
All these hold forth people's closing
with Christ, and their receiving and embracing of Him. Observe, that the soul'
s right closing with Christ is a coming to Him, a buying and eating of Him, and
an obeying of Him. Believing on Him is called coming. "Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest." "And him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast
out." So that coming unto Him is a believing on Him, and a closing
with Him for salvation. And so is buying of Christ, "I
counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire." And in like
manner eating, "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, bath eternal life. . . . For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is
The reason why a closing with Christ is compared
to these things will be taken from the properties of them. We will speak of the
properties of each, and what each of them severally holds forth. And,
First, In a man's coming, ye know, there are three things.
1. He must
come from such a place.
2. He must come to another place.
3. There must
be some certain way by which he comes from the one place to another. In like
manner, in closing with Christ there must be,
l. A coming from the kingdom
of darkness.., where persons were ruled by the power of Satan, and the delight
of sin. They must come from these principles that the multitude of the world
walk by. They must come from their own self-righteousness, that once they
thought to win heaven by. They must come from all the principles of their
former walk and conversation. And they must come,
2. To a new King that
they never had before. Their life must be a new life, wherein all things are
new. So that it is a life hid with Christ in God, which is a mystery to the
multitude of a dark world. They now see themselves blind fools that have need
of daily teaching and direction, or else they would soon destroy themselves.
They now see God to be infinitely wise in all He doth. They now see the
principles of a vain world, by which they walked before, to be stark nought.
They account any mercy they receive a free mercy, if it were but a drink of
cold water. They see all the power of hell and wicked men as nothing in respect
of the Lord. They see God in Christ to be a holy God, and one that heals all
sin. They see that there is nothing in themselves that can make any help for
their salvation, because of their insensibility; but they see God unchangeable
in His love, though He correct them many times for their sins. They see all
these things in a world as what are with us to-day, and away to- morrow; and
therefore they make light of them, and are loosed from them in their
affections. But they see that the counsel of the Lord stands to-day, yesterday,
and for ever.
3. For the way that He brings on souls to close with Christ,
I say, He may have many ways for converting them. For example, some may be
brought in by some heavy rod of affliction laid upon them; some by great and
horrible checks of conscience; others may get at first, a calm view of the love
of God, but God's ordinary way is by the preaching of the gospel. If any have
got good by this, they have these marks following, to know or discern it by,
first, The Spirit of God, by the authority of the word, hath circumcised
their heart; and made them greedily attend on every word preached; so that as
soon as ever the minister speaks a word, they will be waiting for the next
word, and still as they get it they will apply it and make it their own. And,
1. The first thing that the word, accompanied with the authority of
the Spirit, does to them, is to discover the man's sin and guilt to him, and
upon that discovery to make him apply all the cures and threatenings of the law
unto himself as particularly as if there were no more than he, so that he is
bound hand and foot, like one condemned to the gibbet. He condemns himself as
liable to the wrath of God, and to all the threatenings against sin contained
in the Scriptures.
2. Upon this, the Spirit of God, in the word preached,
discovers to the man One who is exhibited as a Surety for him. And then he is
made willing to embrace the free offer of Jesus Christ, according to the
Scriptures. By these folk may try themselves, whether or not they have got any
benefit by the preaching of the gospel and by the free offers of Jesus Christ.
I say, Was ever any of you determined greedily to take heed to the preaching of
the Word till it discovered to you your lost state and condition, and upon that
made you apply every curse in the Bible as belonging to you in particular; so
that ye were thereby bound hand and foot, not knowing of any help ye could make
to yourselves, but on the contrary, obliged in everything to condemn
yourselves? And after that, Was there any cautioner or surety discovered unto
you? And were you made with gladness to embrace Jesus Christ in the offers of
the gospel, according to Sctipture promises?
Secondly, In buying,
there is something that resembles a closing with Christ.
1. There must be
in buying a sight of some valuable goods.
2. Ye must see that these goods
are not your own.
3. Ye must see them to be such commodities as ye stand in
need of, otherwise ye will not buy them at all.
4. Ye must commune with the
merchant about the price of the goods, and agree with him the beat way ye can,
to get them out of his hand. And, in like manner, I say, all these must be in a
closing with Christ.
1. There must be an apprehension of the worth of Jesus
2. There niust be also a conviction of your want of Christ,
otherwise ye will never seek after Him.
3. You must also have a sense of
your need of Him, otherwise ye will never receive Him. And,
4. There must
be some exercise in the soul, in order to get a grip of Him. You must go about
the clearest way that you can to get Him, and to get a union with Him, so that
ye may have boldness to call Him, as the gospel warrants you to do, your Lord
Have you such a sense of your need of Him as makes you cry out,
"What shall I do to be saved? I must have Thee; I cannot want Thee; nay, say
what Thou wilt, I shall not want Thee. Bid me do what Thou wilt, I shall be
content, provided I may find Thee; for it is by Thee alone that I must be
saved; and what is the matter what become of me if I want salvation." Then try
yourselves, whether or not there has been any transaction between you and
Christ, about the matter of your closing with Him? Did ye never miss Christ?
Saw you ever such a worth in Him as made you long to be in His company! Did you
ever see that yecould not live without Him? And did it ever put you to your
wits end what ye should do to get Him made your own, to subdue your
corruptions, and to pay your debts for you, while ye saw yourselves able to do
Thirdly, In eating there are these things: -
must be an appetite for meat.
2. There must be a judgment that the meat is
3. In eating there must be chewing of it in the mouth, to prepare it
for the stomach.
4. In eating it must be swallowed, whereby its substance
becomes incorporated with the body. So in closing with Christ there will be a
sense of need, to excite in the soul an appetite or desire after Christ; or if
they dare not say they have an appetite, yet there will be clear convictions jn
their judgments, that Christ is good for any person that dare make use of Him;
and they say, that they are all blessed that dare call Him their own; and that
they are all cursed that know nothing of Him. There is, too, a love in the
soul, that is still acting in the way of trying to get Christ. Sometimes they
see their sins, and have severe checks for them. Sometimes some beams of light
calm their conscience again. They are sometimes essaying to grip at a promise;
and sometimes they think that such a promise belongs not to them. At last they
venture upon a way in which they may best get Him, and make Him their own; and
in which they may feed upon Him, and have Him for their King and Lord, ruling,
reigning, governing, and setting up laws within them, against all thepowers of
sin and Satan, that they are troubled with. And after they have closed with
Christ, and made Him a King within them to subdue their corruptions, and regard
Him as their own, both for sanctification and redemption; then they become one
in an embodied communion with Him, so that they live no more, as it were, but
Christ lives in them, and the life that they now live "is a life by faith upon the Son of God."
the reasons why Christ useth these three words together to express one's
closing with Him, are
1. Because He must let His people see, that there are
different experiences in closing with Him. Some may get a sensible change from
the power of darkness within them, and through the sense of sin occasioned by
the great thunderings of the law- work upon them, may have a more piercing
desire and lively appetite after communion with Him. Again, some may have got
such a sight of the excellency of Christ, that they cannot think to have it
said that they will want Him. No, the need of Him, and the value they see in
Him, make them both supplicate and cry about Him, so that they can both name
time and place when they met Him; and can relate what transactions passed
betwixt Him and them ere they got Him laid hold of, so that they durst call Him
their own Lord and Master.
2. He useth many words in closing with Him, that
he may declare how willing he is that they should not stand at a distance from
3. He useth all these words on purpose to let people see that there
should be such exercise in His people that should not let them be satisfied
about their closing with Him on slight grounds. And,
4. He uses all these
words on purpose that folk may trace all their steps over again - both before
and after their closing with Christ - and be convinced of their sin, and flee
to Christ to intercede for the pardon of it. Now for the clearing up of
people's closing with Christ, let us mark out so many sorts of people as have
been at this market of free grace yesterday.
First, There is one
sort of natural folk that have been bold enough to come to Christ in His
Supper, that, we daresay, have never yet known anything of closing with Him.
Secondly, There is another sort who dare boldly say that they have
closed with Him, and are bold to tell of all the actions and motions of
agreement that passed betwixt Him and them.
Thirdly, There is a sort
that are halting betwixt these two, that dare neither say boldly that they have
closed with Christ, nor dare they say boldly to the contrary. And,
the first of these, we would say to you that are natural folk and atheists, and
yet have made bold to meddle with these holy ordinances, I say unto you,
acknowledge it, and mourn for your presumption in being so bold as to meddle
with these holy things, and to profane this holy Sacrament; be ye assured that
ye have drunk your own condemnation. But, I say, if it shall please God to make
any of you sensible of that sin, we do not bid you call away your hope
hereafter, as if ye had done that which could never be pardoned. Christ's
market of His free offer is yet to be had for the salvation of any poor sinner
who will have it. Oh, what a joyful sight would it be to see atheist ministers,
atheist scholars, all the haughty and high-minded men in the land, gentlemen
and commoners, only suspecting and judging themselves as a people living
without God in the world and without Christ, then there would be some hopes;
but as long as ye never want God, and think ye had Him, and believed in Him all
your days, and never once missed your faith in Him, we say we have sufficient
evidence, in that case, that ye never knew what Christ was nor what it was to
believe in Him.
2. With regard to you that dare say ye have closed with
Christ, and are sure of it, I say this unto you, For as sure as ye are, if ye
have been so bold as to come to this ordinance without examination of your sin
and guilt, and of your need of new pardon for it; and without any exercises of
that kind, ye have done that which may bring sad judgment upon your bodies, and
gross hardness of heart upon your souls. If it be so, that ye have not been
engaged in exercises of that kind before you came, we allow you now to mourn
for the abuse of these holy things, as well as others. Cry down yourselves as
loathsome and abominable; but beware of limiting to free grace any of your
exercises. I say to you, though ye be sure, yet beware of being careless or
secure. This feast, at such a time, says that God has some difficult work to
put you upon - work that will try all your evidences of being in Christ;
therefore dream not of ease, but prepare yourselves for trials of all sorts.
And we think that though there were no more, it may even bind you to the
diligent performance of duty that God has given you that feast in this place,
before many others that were longing for it, and has not left you disputing
about that matter, like many a poor thing in the land. I say, ye may bear the
better with any piece of trial that it shall please God to tryste you with, and
ye should stick closely to your duty, that ye may be examples to others of a
stedfast adherence to Christ.
3. With regard to you who cannot tell whether
ye have closed with Christ or not, we will -
(1) Speak to some grounds of
hope, that ye may have as to your closing with Christ;
(2) speak also to
some grounds of fear that may hinder your closing with Him, and are ready to
kill you, when you would venture upon Christ. And,
(1.) For the ground of
your hope, ye dare not deny but that ye have real conviction of sin, and of
your guiltiness by sin, and that ye cannot help yourselves by anything that ye
can do, although you should perish. Ye dare not deny but that ye have fled from
any righteousness in yourselves. Ye dare not say but that ye see some
difference betwixt our principles and the principles of the multitude, so that,
for a world, ye dare not do many things that ye see them do. Ye dare not deny
but that ye are fled from many of those principles ye once walked by, and now,
for a thousand worlds, ye dare not do that which once ye thought it no sin to
do. You dare not deny but that ye look for salvation from no other place, but
from Christ. Ye dare not deny it that ye hear the Gospel preached with another
ear than ye were wont to do. You dare not deny but that ye think yourselves
liable to the curses of the broken law, and apply these particularly to
yourselves, and therefore ye would gladly be in hands with Christ. Ye dare not
deny, though ye dare not say ye have really closed with Christ, that ye would
not for a thousand worlds give up your part of Him. Ye dare not deny but that
they are blessed folk in your esteem that have Christ and dare call Him their
own, and that ye account them all a parcel of poor beggarly creatures that have
nothing of Him. Ye dare not deny (though ye dare not say that there is true
grace in you) that ye are convinced of what ye understand of the marks of grace
that we speak of, and find them to be matter of exercise with you; hence it is
your good day when ye hear the most of these preached and cleared up. Ye dare
not say (though ye get not all your idols brought down that are within you) but
that at sometimes ye get such access to God that ye get liberty to curse your
idols, and to hate them and to wage war against thent. Ye dare not deny it that
ye get some tastes and motions of light within you even such as ye would be at.
Ye dare not deny that according to these motions ye apprehend some great worth
to be in Christ, so that ye cannot think to want Him. Besides, if ye durst say
that ye claim your interest in Christ, it would soon make up any other want;
and though one should give you all the world, it would yield no contentment
unto you as long as ye could not claim clearly your interest in Him. In fine,
ye cannot say but that there is some exercise in your soul about finding Him,
and that you essay in the appointed way to lay hold of Him.
Now, I say all
these are evidences of your closing with Christ, and serve to keep the spark of
life within you, and to preserve you from giving over your endeavour to close
with Him, and are preludes to your further success in this matter. And,
(2.) For the grounds of that fear which hinders you from closing with
(1.) Ye are afraid that you have never got such a deep sense of
your sin and guiltiness as your closing with Christ requires.
(2.) Ye fear
that ye have never bad such a lively spiritual exercise in you as the nature of
closing with Christ requires.
(3.) Ye cannot think that ye have closed with
Him, because ye think that for all that is threatened against you, and for all
that ye can do, there still remains some old predominate sin within you which
ye think is still unkilled, and which you think inconsistent with the grace of
Now, For answer to these doubts, consider,
1. That with
respect to your sense. of sin, God gives not every one a like measure of
exercises for their sin that closes with Him. To some He gives more sense of
sin, and to others less, according to the several employments He has to call
them unto. Some He has to call to the work of the ministry, and these have need
of a more deep exercise than others, for they have the charge of many souls to
look to and to give account of; they have the doubts of the people to clear up
to them, and they must be exercised in order to fit them for their calling.
2. Some, I say, have but small exercise about their sin on account of the
company among whom their lot is cast. Were some deeply as others, the people
who dwell with them them mad they would never bear with them, and God's name
would be profaned by these atheists. But for the sense of sin, I ask if ever ye
found so much of it as to be brought to a loathing and abasing of yourselves?
Have you been hrought to think none in all the world so vile as yourselves?
Have you been brought to loathe and abhor yourselves because of your
filthiness? Have you been made to acknowledge that there is hardly a sin in all
the world but what ye have been guilty of, at least that there is no sin but ye
find the root of it to be in you, and that there has been nothing that kept sin
in you from breaking out into the vilest of all outbreakings in the world but
only the good hand of God that prevented it?
And now thou art made to
bless God that thou art not such a man and such a woman as many are this day.
No thanks to thee that thou art not one of the vilest of outbreakers that ever
lived, for such thou wouldst have been if God had given thee over to thyself as
many are. Many professors were never brought this length of loathing
themselves. The high heads of many, their shaking and tinkling bravery which
they prance with, makes us fear that they have never known what it was to
loathe themselves for sin. After that conviction of sin and loathing of thyself
for it, did it work up thy heart to a high esteem of Jesus Christ; and wast
thou made to yield to Him any way He pleased, provided He would be a King
within thee, and subdue thy lust and corruptions? And now thou art made to
esteem the holy law of God, and to account it holy, just, and good, yea, worthy
to be observed; and thou now standest in awe to offend God, by breaking of His
holy law. I say, all these are evidences of a soul's closing with Christ
(1.) To be convinced that really by the breach of the law, you are guilty
of sin, and so liable to be condemned unto the wrath of God. Then,
(2.) Fleeing from that unto Christ for a refuge. And,
(3.) After all, making the law a rule of your life, and whole conversation.
But now ye want the knowledge of that incorporating union with Him, which we
spoke of as imported in the third word, "eating," when the soul comes to
Christ, which is a making of Christ your own by a union with Him.
way in which God gives them this privilege, is by the Spirit
of discerning, whereby they can understand all the actions and motions within
them, in order to their closing with Christ; while a divine command also holds
out to them their warrant of closing with Christ. And, 2ndly
attain to the knowledge of this union with Christ, by the clearing to
themselves what marks of grace they find in life and vigour within them. Though
the soul cannot clear up all the marks of grace as what are within them, yet
they may not for that deny their interest in Christ; for if thou canst only
evidence ., mayest claim thy interest in Him.
Suppose it were but a love to
the brethren, let that be cleared well, and by it thou art proved to be one who
is passed from death to life. However, we wish that people were clearing to
themselves all the marks of grace in them. 3rdly,
A third way by
which souls may attain to the knowledge of their interest in Christ, and union
with Him, and dare most confidently say that Christ is their God, is by the
zeal and testimony of the Spirit bearing witness in and with and upon their
spirits. Now the Spirit of God hath many ways of working. It is the Spirit that
both convinceth folk of sin, and maketh them mourn for it, and bears testimony
to the spirits of His people, that they are the children of God. And besides,
He clears His people's judgment, so that He makes them know and discern what
marks of grace they haye within them that speak forth their union with Christ.
And then He brings a promise to their hand that is suitable to their union with
Him; and He Himself opens and unfolds that promise, and makes it look pleasant
to them. He bears in the promise in a lively manner upon them, and will not let
it admit of any objection. The Spirit rouses the soul, and makes it stir, and
flutter, and run, and embrace the promise, and welcome it home. He makes them
believe the truth of it, and apply it to themselves. On which marriage the soul
is wrought up to a sort of heavenly and unspeakable joy; the greatest. pitch of
joy a soul can attain to on this side of time.
Now, to conclude, there are
but few that can attain to such noble testimonies as these; and yet everyone
that comes not that length may not deny his interest in Christ. I say, if thou
canst discern any motions or acts in thy soul that lead thee to comply with the
command to believe in Him, and if thou canst clear up to thyself any mark of
grace which the Spirit of God calls a mark of grace, by which an union with Him
is evidenced. As for your saying that ye cannot think there is any union
between you and Christ, so long as your predominate sin is unmortified, I leave
you with recommending to your consideration the apostle Paul, who got not all
sin borne down within him; yet as it was his burthen, he was an enemy to it,
and waged war against it, accordingly pleaded his integrity and interest in
Jesus Christ; and so may you do. If that sin be your burthen, and if ye can say
that ye are mourning for it, and using means against it, and daily representing
it to the King to be taken order with; in this case, though it still remains as
a strong fort within you, ye may both plead your integrity and interest in
But we add no more, but leave you to the Spirit of God alone,
to whom it solely belongs, to confirm and establish you in all your wavering.
Be earnest with the Spirit of God; and beware of doing anything to grieve Him.
But by all means entertain the motions of the Spirit; for it and He alone, that
can clear all your objections. N B. - Whether
Mr. Guthrie's preaching on the Monday after the celebration of the Sacrament of
the Lord's Supper, in his own parish, was owing to the paucity of the
ministers, or the custom of the times, which is more probable, is not now
certainly known. However, these sermons, with the most part of those which
follow, seem to have been preached betwixt the year 1660, and 1665, in which
all the rest of the Presbyterian ministers, except one or two, were cast out of
Home | Links | Sermons |
Literature | Biography | Photos