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that their desires are carried out after—and would to God many of these nations were not carried forth this way ! We allow you desires of what is lawful, if ye moderate them, that they turn not to lusting, so that the Lord send leanness to your souls, (Psal. cvi. 15). USE II. Holds out most sweet ground of consolation to all those that desire to be saved, and to be comforted in the Lord. Is it thy desire indeed to be saved ? then take this home to thy soul, that it is not so much thy desire, as it is the desire of Jesus Christ the Lord. Is it thy desire to be strengthened and comforted ? take this home to thee—it is not so much thy desire, as the desire of Jesus Christ the Lord. Thou mayest desire it, but he doth most vehemently desire it: thou mayest desire it, but with desire he doth desire it; he doth most affectionately, seriously, and earnestly desire it, else why offered he himself to be a ransom for souls 2 Why was he found in the fashion of a servant; why gave he his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, but to persuade thy soul, that with desire he desires thy Salvation, and that thou mayest be comforted ? Therefore do him no such injury and wrong, as to dispute the business, but give him glory by believing, and with joy draw water out of the well of salvation. USE III. If this be the object of Christ's desires, it ought to be the object of thy desires also. Doubtless, his desires are rightly regulated, and set on right objects. Let it be thy desire that thy soul may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. It may be said, Who doth not desire that? We grant that there is in all the children of men, even heathens, and Turks, and pagans, a desire to be saved; but it is not that desire that is in Jesus Christ the Lord. Ye should take notice that there is a natural and a spiritual desire of salvation. Of all that ever lived, there were none of them ever so contrary to nature and self, as not to desire salvation; but none have a spiritual desire of salvation, but those that are renewed in the spirit of their minds. How
these two differ, take them in these particulars: 1. The O
natural man is not so much led forth with desire of salvation, as his desire is led forth not to go to hell, and to be free from the wrath of God. He is afraid when he hears tell of hell, and would fain be free of that. As Pharaoh, he desires no Moses to pray that sin may be pardoned, or that he might be in favour with God, but that the plague might be stayed. 2. A second difference is, that if a natural man desire heaven, it is not the true heaven that he desireth, where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost reign, and where the spirits of just men are made perfect; but it is a carnal heaven of his own framing, that may satisfy the flesh, as the heaven of Mahomet. But the spiritual man desireth fellowship and communion with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and with the spirits of just men made perfect. 3. The natural man's desire of heaven leads him not on to abandon his lusts, but he desireth heaven and to avoid hell, and the enjoying of his lusts all at once ; but the other bids adieu to all those lusts, and saith with Ephraim, “What have I any more to do with idols?” (Hosea xiv. 8). Lastly, The natural man's desire is but a bare desire, and goeth no farther, like the desire of the sluggard, that saith, “There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets” (Prov. xxvi. 13), and “turneth himself on his bed, as the door turneth upon its hinges.” His “desire killeth him, for his hands refuse to labour,” (Prov. xxi. 25). It leadeth him not on in the use of the means to obtain salvation; the other doth not so. Another branch more of this Use in reference to the ordinance that the Lord calleth us to, is in reference to those words that are uttered by our Lord: “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” And should we not make our souls resound and re-echo this back again to him with desire? Lord, do our souls desire to keep this passover with thee ? He left this with the word commanded to us, “This do in remembrance of me,” and with the word of promise, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.” Therefore, work up your hearts with desire, to desire to eat this passover with Jesus Christ. Another observation is, that the nearer folks are to trials, and sufferings, and death, the more earnestly they should desire to partake of the blessed and precious mysteries of the gospel, or the more earnestly they should put forth themselves for the salvation and good of others. “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” I am now about to lay down my life for you, therefore with desire I desire to eat this passover with you before I suffer. Some instances of such a frame we shall name: 1. Moses, when he knew that he was about to die, and when he is called to go to mount Nebo to view the land, and to die there, what a deal of business and care is on him to put forth himself for the salvation and good of the church of God? The whole book of Deuteronomy is a clear evidence of it, especially the 30th, 31st, 32d, and 33d chapters of it, in appointing and instructing of Joshua, in exhorting of them, and in writing the law, and causing it to be kept and to be read to them. Another instance is in John the Baptist. When he was about to suffer, he sends his disciples to Jesus Christ out of prison, that they might be confirmed that he was the Messias, (Matt. xi.). Also Paul, having called the elders of the church, saith to them, “I know that ye shall see my face no more; take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood. And now, brethren, Icommend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified,” (Acts xix). And then, ye have the great example of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who poured forth his love most eminently in washing his disciples' feet, in appointing of his last Supper, and in this last sermon and his last prayer. When folks are nighest unto suffering, then they should most mind those matters; and when they are nigh to the end of their race, they have the more need to lay hold on the crown. Next, when they are nigh to the end of their race, they should leave some encouragement and strengthening to others living behind them. Next, the more nigh they are to trials and sufferings, they have the more need to summon their faith and patience, that they may be strengthened to hold out to the end.
We cannot bring arguments enough to beseech you how to improve this ordinance, because it is a time wherein we seem to be nigh trials and sufferings, and the Lord knows if we may not be near to death also, and our church may be near such too. Doth not iniquity prevail and abound exceedingly 7 And, oh, what iniquity this last week We are not speaking against the public thanksgiving to God, and the expressing of your joy in a moderate way; but, oh, what drunkenness and swearing ! and whether those of this place have not had their share of it ! Would to God ye would timeously think on it. Next, is not the love of many grown cold 2 And would to God they were not grown malignants, and that many are not grown hot again, even of those that have the image of God. Lastly, there seemeth to be a conspiracy in these nations of the old malignant prelatical party of bringing us back again to the bondage and yoke of Prelacy, therefore we should take heed how we eat out this passover. We may say to you, as was said to Elijah, “Arise and eat, because thy journey is too great for thee,” (1 Kings xix. 7). We know not how great the journey is that we have to go in the strength of this meat, or whether it may be the last that some of us may eat in this place.
A CRY FROM THE DE AD :
BEING MR GUTHRIE'S LAST SERMON, PREACHED AT STIRLING, BEFORE HIS MARTYRDOM AT EDINBURGH IN JUNE 1661.
PREFACE BY THE REW. EBENEZER ERSKINE.
PERHAPs it may be thought somewhat strange, how a sermon of that great and good man, Mr James Guthrie, once minister of Stirling, should come abroad about seventyseven years after his death, he having been crowned with martyrdom in the year 1661. The occasion of its seeing the light is as follows:—January, this same year, I had occasion to be in company with my worthy and dear father and colleague, Mr Alexander Hamilton, in the Manse of Stirling, a few days before his departure to glory; and having heard that the sermon was in his hand, I took occasion to inquire at him about it. He told me that it was not at present in his custody, having lent it out to a Christian friend about eighteen miles distance, but allowed me to send for it, adding, that he would be well pleased it were published. I asked him further, of the way he came by it? To which he replied, that for what he knew, it had lain in the closet of the room, where he and I were sitting, since Mr Guthrie's incumbency, until one day he fell upon it, as he was turning over some old papers, which had lain there he knew not how long,