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First, The persons are said,

1. Labouring, toiling, weary. This is not hard to be understood. Weariness proceeds either from labour or from weakness; and when these are united, when a. person has much to do, or to bear, and but little strength, he will soon be weary. The case of some, however, is, that when the

are tired, they can lay down their burden, or leave off their work. But these are not only labouring, fainting, weary, but,

2. Heavy laden likewise. As if a man had a burden, which he was unable to bear a single minute, so fastened upon him, that he could not by any means be freed from it ; but it must always press him down, night and day, abroad or at home, sleeping (if sleep in such a circumstance was possible) and waking. How would the poor creature be wearied! How could

you comfort or give him ease, unless you could rid him of his burden? How desirable would the prospect of liberty be to such a one! and how great his obligations and acknowledgements to his deliverer! 1. Secondly, This representation is an emblem of the distresses and burdens of those who seek to Jesus, that they may have rest for their souls; nor can any truly seek him till they feel themselves in such a state. They may be generally comprised under three classes.

1. Awakened sinners. None but those who have felt it can conceive how sinners labour, toil, and faint, under their first convictions. They are burdened,

First, with the guilt of sin. This is a heavy load. When Jesus bore it, it made him sweat great drops of blood. It is true, he bore the weight of all his people's sins; but the weight of one sin is sufficient to press us down, if God permits it to lie heavy upon us. pose the best of us can remember some action or inci

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dent or other in our past lives which we would wish to forget if we could. Now, how would you be distressed to have a person sounding in your ears, from morning till night, and every day of your lives, that worst thing that ever you did ? Would it not weary you? This is a faint image of the convinced sinner's state. When conscience is truly awakened, it acts this officious and troublesome part; but its remonstrances are not confined to one sin, it renews the remembrance and the aggravations of multitudes. Nor is this the voice of a man, but indeed of God, who speaks in and by the conscience. The poor sinner hears and trembles : then the complaint of Job is understood: “ Thou writest “ bitter things against me, and makest me to possess “ the iniquities of my youth *.” Do you wonder that such a one can no longer take pleasure in worldly things? It is impossible, unless you could silence this importunate voice, that they can bear themselves at all. Nay, often it is so strong and urgent, gives them such a lively sense of what sin is, and what it deserves from a righteous God, that they are almost afraid or ashaned to see any person that knows them. They are ready to think, that people can read in their faces what passes in their hearts, and almost expect that the ground should open under their feet. O how wearisome is it to be continually bowed down with such a burden as this!

Secondly, with the power of sin. Perhaps they were once in some measure at ease in this respect: they saw others whom they supposed to be worse; and therefore trusted in themselves that they were righteous. But convictions rouse and inflame our sinful natures. St.

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Paul exemplifies this by his own case before conversion: “. I was without the law once; but when the “ commandment came, sin revived, and I died*." He never was strictly without the law; for he expected salvation by obeying it; but he was without the knowledge of its spirituality, demands, and sanction : and while he remained thus, he was alive, that is, his hope remained good, and he was satisfied with his obedience. But when the commandment came, when its extent, purity, and penalty, were brought home to his conscience, sin revived; and he died. He found all his

pretensions to liberty, obedience, and comfort, were experimentally confuted by what he felt in himself. The more an awakened sinner strives against his corruptions, the more they seem to increase. This wearies him ; for, besides the greatness of the toil itself, he finds himself weak, weak as water, weaker and weaker, And he is not only weary, but heavy laden; for this likewise is a burden which he cannot shake off. He sees that he cannot succeed; yet he dares not desist.

2. Those who are seeking salvation by the works of the law, are labouring and heavy laden, engaged in what is beyond their strength, and baffles all their endeavours. This may appear from what has been al. ready said. It is a hard task to keep the whole law; and nothing less will either please God, if made the ground of justification, or satisfy the conscience that has any true light. Those declarations of the word, that “ cursed is the man who continueth not in all " things written in the book of the law to do them t," and, “ whoso keepeth the whole law, and yet offendeth “ in one point; he is guilty of all I.,” keep them in con

* Rom. vii. 9.

+ Gal. iii. 10.

| James, ii, 10,

tinual anxiety and servitude. The weakness of their flesh makes it impossible for the law to give a ground of hope; yet they cannot lay down their burden, but are compelled to renew the fruitless task. I speak not of mere formalists, who go through a round of external services, without meaning or design; but all who are in a measure sincere, find themselves still followed with a restless inquiry, "What lack I yet* ?" Endless are the shifts and contrivances they are put to; but all in vain : for, what makes it worse, they always add to this burden many inventions of their own, as though the demands of the law were too few.

3. Those who are under temptation. It is a hard and wearisome service to be in close conflict with the powers of darkness. The leading branches of this exercise are,

1st, When the soul is assaulted, and as it were filled with insufferable blasphemies. When Satan is permitted to shoot these fiery darts, none can express (not even those who have felt them) the amazement and 'confusion that fills the mind. For a person who has received a reverence for the name and attributes of God, to be haunted from morning to night, from day to day, with horrid imprecations, so strongly impressed, that he often starts and trembles with an apprehension, that he has certainly consented, and spoken them aloud with his lips; this is irksome and terrifying beyond description.

2dly, When the foundations of faith and experience are attacked. Many who have thought themselves grounded in the truth, who have hoped that they had

· Matth, xix. 20.

surely tasted that the Lord is gracious, and have in their first comforts been ready to say,

" I shall never be moved *, thou, Lord, of thy goodness hast made

my mountain so strong," have found themselves afterwards at their wits end, when the enemy has been permitted to come in upon them like a flood f. One black cloud of temptation has blotted out all their comfortable evidences; and they have been left to question, not only the justness of their own hopes, but even the first and most important principles on which their hopes were built.

Bdly, When the hidden corruptions and abominations of the heart are stirred up. And perhaps there is po other way but this of coming to the knowledge of what our depraved natures are capable. Such things a season of temptation has discovered to some, which I believe no racks nor tortures could constrain them to disclose, though but to their dearest friend. This subject, therefore, will not bear a particular illustration. The Lord's people are not all acquainted with these depths of Satan. As people who live on shore have a variety of trials, dangers, and deliverances, yet know but little of the peculiar exercises of those who down to the sea in ships ; so, in the present case, there are great waters I, depths of temptation, known compara: tively to few. Those who are brought through them, have more to say of the wonders of God in the great deep than others; and this is his design in permitting it, that they may know more of him, and more of themselves. But while they are under these trials, they are weary and heavy laden; and this burden they must

* Psalm, xxx. 6.

+ Isa. lix, 19.

Psalm, cvii. 24,

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