صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

[1] The means thereof. And here you may obferve four powerful means.

(1.) The firft mean was Chrift's coming to the place: and, indeed, the day of effectual calling is the day wherein Chrift comes by his gracious prefence; it is not running nor climbing, nor ufing any endeavours that will be effectual, till the Lord himself come to the place. We may fay of the place where we are met, What tho' people are come, and minifters are come; if Chrift himfelf do not come, by his fpiritual prefence, nothing will be done. As Martha faid to Chrift, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died:" fo we may fay, if Chrift be not here, we will remain dead in fin and fecurity; but if Christ be here, his prefence will quicken us to a lively hope, to a lively faith, to a new and fpiritual life.

(2.) The next mean was Chrifl's looking up. Zaccheus had climbed up the tree with his hands and feet; and, behold! Chrift follows him with his heart and eyes: "He looked up." Obferve here, That wherever any person is, that belongs to Chrift, he will furely give a look of love, and caft an eye of pity toward that perfon, whether he be down among the crowd, or up among the branches of a tree; let him be a cripple on the ground, or a climber on the boughs, Chrift will be at him: though he were as far down as Bartimeus, fitting by the way fide, begging; or as far up as Zaccheus, fitting on the tree, gazing: Chrift will look over thousands, and give a look to him: "He looked up." Most of thefe whom Chrift is about to call to himself are in fuch circumftances, that Chrift muft, in a manner, look up to him: and, O! what amazing grace is this! It is a wonder when Chrift condefcends to look down from heaven to us on earth, but for him to come down to earth, to look up to us here, is a wonder of wonders! That he fhould put himself among the rank of worms, Pfal. xxii. 6. "I am a worm, and no man ;” and that for this end, that he might look up to men, placing themselves upon, and pleafing themfelves in their own heights and altitudes; this is wonderful!

Chrift and finners are fometimes reprefented in fuch a fituation, as if the world were turned upfide down, as indeed it is by fin; Chrift is brought down so low, that, when he looks to the finner, he must look up; and the finner exalted fo high, that when he looks to Chrift, he must look down. High attempts, and lofty endeavours of our own will never do us any faving good, till Chrift give us a faving look; and, as it were, look up to us with pity and compaffion, so as to look down with fhame and confufion.

caufe us to

3. Another mean was Christ's seeing him; "He looked up and faw him." Chrift not only looked up to the tree, but he faw Zaccheus there; he went there to fee Chrift, and Chrift went there to fee him and so they behoved to fee one another. Hence obferve, That when a poor foul is feeking to fee Chrift, it is a happy omen that Chrift is feeking to fee that foul, and that they will not be long afunder. Here is a notable spur and incitement to diligence when we are feeking after Christ, Chrift is feeking after us; when we would have communion with Chrift, Chrift would have communion with us; when we have an eye toward Christ, Christ hath an eye toward us: it is, notwithstanding, to be obferved here, that as we do not read that Zaccheus faw Chrift, till firft we are told that Chrift saw him; fo it is fure, Chrift's looking to us prevents our looking to him: no foul can look to him with an eye of faith and hope, till he look to that foul with an eye of pity and mercy. If any feed of fpiritual defire after Chrift, was now fown in Zaccheus's heart, it was a fruit of Chrift's feeing him. Though exercised fouls are not always fenfible of this, but may be, fometimes, through ignorance, thus fpeaking with themfelves; "O! how willingly would I fee Chrift! but I know "not if he be willing." What, man! this is a piece of blafphemy; if you be truly willing, his will has prevented yours; if your eye be toward him, his eye has prevented yours: "He looked up, and faw him." Zaccheus could not fee him till he looked up and fhewed his face to him none can fee him favingly till he fhews and manifefts himself. It is true, Chrift faw the mul

titude about him, and they faw him; but it was in another manner that Chrift and Zaccheus faw one-another: Chrift conveyed himself into his heart with the look that he gave to him, and the word that he fpake to him. Chrift faw Nathaniel down below the tree, when he little thought that Chrift was looking to him; "When thou waft under the fig tree, I faw thee." And here, he faw Zaccheus upon the fycamore-tree, when he little thought he would notice him.

(4.) The fourth means of this effectual calling was Chrift's fpeaking to him. Hence we may learn, That when Chrift gives a merciful look; he gives a merci- ' ful word; where he gives a look of love, he gives a word of power; his gracious looks and his gracious words go together: the ordinary means of effectual calling is by the word of Chrift accompanied with the power of the Spirit of Chrift; "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." But now, what faid Chrift to him? This leads me to the other part of the text, viz.

[2.] The manner of his vocation, or effectual calling. Here again we may obferve these four things concerning it.

(1.) It was a particular call; he fpeaks to him by name, Zaccheus. It is faid of Christ, John x. 3. "He calls his own fheep by name." Here remark, That the effectual call is a particular call; they that are thus called are dealt with particularly, as if God were fpeaking to them by name and firname. I might here obferve the fignification of the name, Zaccheus, which fignifies, pure, clean, and undefiled; but furely he was never rightly called Zaccheus till now, that Chrift calledhim f; and, by the particular call, did effectually fow the feed of holiness and purity in his heart and that it was effectual appears from the event, his joyful anfwering the call, ver. 6.; his repentance and reformation, verfe 8.; and Chrift's declaration concerning him, ver. 9.

(2.) It was a declarative call; fpecial direction being given him with refpect to his prefent duty, Come down;

Vol. IX.



as if he had faid, That place, that fituation you are in is too high and incommodious for feeing and entertaining me; come down from the height, that you may better fee me. The nearest fight of Chrift is best: while you are too high, you are too far from me; Come down. Here obferve, That these who defire to fee Chrift are ready to climb to fuch heights, and fo take fuch ways of their own, as afterwards they will find themselves obliged to defcend from, and abandon ; fo it is vain to think of getting a faving fight, or a right view of Chrift in a way of climbing up by our own natural and legal endeavours. Come down, Zaccheus; you must defcend from your own natural heights and legal altitudes, to the gofpel valley, and the low path where Chrift walks. If Zaccheus had been where he ought to have been, Chrift would not have called him to come down: it is true, it was a lawful and laudable shift for him, confidering the great prefs and his low ftature, to climb up to the tree that he might get a fight of Chrift; but if he fhould fit ftill and rest upon the fycomore-tree, when Chrift the tree of life was come fo near, to be the only refting place of his foul, all his pains and labours would have been loft. There may be very lawful, laudable, and commendable means and endeavours, that people may betake themselves to, and they may climb very high therein, that they may get a fight of Chrift; but if they fit down and reft upon the tree of their own duties and endeavours, whatever external, common and paffing views of Chrift they may get, yet there is no faving fight, or fpecial acquaintance with Chrift they can have, unless they come down from all dependence upon means, down to Chrift himself. The call here is directive; and the order and direction he gets is, Zaccheus, come down. Whom Chrift calls, he directs to proper duty; and it is the firft duty of fouls that would have communion with Chrift, to come down, that they may meet with him.

(3.) It was a haftening call, Zaccheus, make HASTE, and come down. As you ran before the rest, and made hafte to get up; fo you must make hafle to be down. The call of Chrift requires a prefent anfwer, without


delay: "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of falvation: to-day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." The outward external call by his word is fuch a haftening call, that no man ought to delay a moment to come to Chrift, at his call; for a delay is dangerous why, if the next moment fhould cut his breath, and fo cut the thread of his life, before he come to Chrift, he is eternally and irrecoverably loft. The internal and effectual call is fuch a haftening call, that whofoever are the subjects thereof cannot find in their hearts to delay a moment. No fooner did Chrift fpeak the word, than Zaccheus made hafte, and came down.

(4.) It was a kindly and a loving call, as appears from the reason of it; For, to-day I must abide at thy house:' Come down, for I must be your gueft: I will fup with you, and you with me to-day." Here is a bleffed gueft inviting himfelf, the Lord Jefus Chrift. Here is a place. of entertainment, Thy houfe.' Here is the fulness of the vifit, it was not paffingly and transiently; but he was to abide at his houfe. Here is the neceffity of it, "I must abide at thy houfe:" a fweet neceffity of love and kindness; I must do it. And here is the time when this was to be done, "TO DAY I muft abide at thy houfe:" the time to favour thee with a merciful vifit is come. Here is furpaffing and preventing love and mercy, Chrift kindly calls upon Zaccheus, when Zaccheus was afhamed and afraid to call upon him: Chrift invites himself to his home, when Zaccheus was thinking of nothing but a paffing view of him by the way. And here it is remarkable, Zaccheus not only gets what he defired, but much more; he gets Chrift to be his gueft. When Christ calls, he fhows his kindnefs far beyond all our defires and hopes; and whom he calls effectually, he draws with the cords of love: having loved with an everlasting love, he draws with loving-kindness.-So much fhall fuffice for the explication. I now confine myself to this one doctrinal propofition.

OBSERV. That there are certain heights people are apt to afcend, from which the Lord Jefus, in the

H 2



« السابقةمتابعة »