September 11, 2011

Isaac Ambrose (1604–1664) on Christ's Affectionate Invitations

Use 1. I have been long in the Proof: But a Word of Use, and I have done. What? Is Christ most willing to receive Sinners? O then be exhorted! Who would not come to Jesus Christ? Me thinks, now all Sinners of all Sorts should say, Though I have been a Drunkard, a Swearer, an unclean Person, yet now I hear Christ is willing to receive Sinners, and therefore I will go to Jesus Christ. This is my Exhortation, O come unto Christ, come unto Christ! Behold, here in the Name of the Lord I stand, and make Invitation to poor Sinners; Oh will yet not come? how will you answer it at the great Day, when it shall be said, The Lord Jesus made a Tender and Offer of Mercy to you, and you would not accept of it? Oh come to Christ, and believe on Christ; as Christ is willing to receive you, so be you willing to give up your Souls to him. The Motives to this I may lay down in these Particulars.

1. The Doctrine of Christ, Come unto me,---- and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise case out. All the Arguments of God and Christ, of which you have heard, the Practice of Christ while he was upon Earth: Lay these together, and apply them to your own Souls; Oh what Work will they make!

2. The Calls of God, and Christ, as they are frequent in Scriptures: Consider that Text, Ho every one that thirsts, come ye to the Waters! Isa. 55. 1. [Ho] He begins Proclamation-wise: We usually say, Vocations, Interjections speak very affectionate Motion towards the distressed. Certainly Christ's Love is a very affectionate Love: He lays his Mouth to the Ears of those that are spiritually deaf, and cries aloud, Ho [every one] Christ invites all: As many as ye shall find, bid them to the Marriage, Matth. 22. 9. As the Heavens are general in their Influence, not one Grass on the Ground but is bedewed; so are Christ's Invitations to his Feast: Not one Man in all the World but he is invited; [Ho every one that thirsteth] So the Apostle, Let him that is athirst, come; and whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely, Rev. 22. 17. A Thirst, and a Will is one and the same: It is your Will that makes up the Match: If you will but sit down at God's Table; if you will but have the Hon[e]y-comb with the Honey; if you will but drink his Wine with his Milk; if you will drink, yea, drink abundantly of the Flaggons of the new Wine of his Kingdom; why, then come, Come ye to the Waters, come unto me and drink. Christ's Arms are spread abroad to receive Sinners: He calls and knocks; and calls and waits; and calls and beseeches: Every Word here hath so much Sweetness and Dearness in it, as it plainly speaks him free and willing to receive you, if you will but come.

3. The Wooings of Christ to gain your Hearts: Consider him bowing the Heavens, and coming down, and laying aside his Robes of Majesty, and putting on your filthy Garments: Consider him going about from Place to Place, on no other Errand, but to gain your Hearts, and win your Souls: And, who ever spake such effectual Words as Christ spake when he was upon the Earth? Who ever gave such precious Jewels to a Bride, as Christ gave to his Spouse? Who ever put on such Apparel as Christ did, when he wooed his Church? The Prophet wonders at it, Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed Garments from Bozrah?---- Wherefore art thou red in thine Apparel, and thy Garments like him that treadeth in the Wine Fat? Isa. 63. 1. 2. Whoever gave such a Love Token, as Christ gave when he laid down his Life? Oh, consider him living, or dieing, and say, Never Love like to this. Ah! poor Sinners, see your Jesus hanging on the Cross, dropping out his last Blood, breathing out his last Breath, stretching out his dying Arms to encircle Sinners; and come, Oh come and throw your selves into his bleeding Arms! Away with all prejudicate Opinions! Who shall say, Christ is not willing to save him, and not blaspheme eternal Love? Speak Truth: Corrupt Hearts speak Truth; say not Christ is unwilling, but you are unwilling; I would, but ye would not.

4. The Weepings of Christ if he cannot prevail. Thus we find him in the Gospel expressing himself, not only in Words, but in Tears. And when he was come near Jerusalem, he beheld the City, and wept over it, Luke 19. 41. Christ coming to the City, and seeing it, and foreseeing the Desolation that should come upon it, his Bowels yearned within him towards the People, and he mourned secretly within himself. q.d. O Jerusalem, thou hast had many Priests to advise thee, and many Prophets to instruct thee in the Ways of Life, but now these Days are gone and past; nay, the great Prophet of the World is come to woo thee, but yet thy Heart is hardened, and thou wilt not receive the Things belonging to thy Peace, and therefore I will turn my Preaching into Mourning and Sighing, Oh that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy Day the Things belonging to thy Peace. And then his Heart even breaks, and he weeps again, But now they are hid from thine Eyes! Sinners, suppose Christ should come and weep over you, as he did over Jerusalem, saying, O ye sinful Souls, had but you known, even you in this your Day the Things belonging to your Peace: And suppose that you should see one Tear trickling down after another: What? Christ to weep for you, over you? Methinks, if you had Hearts of Stone, it should melt your Hearts: Surely it is no light Matter that makes Christ weep: Children weep often, but Wisemen seldom, yet here the wisest of Men weeps for them that would not weep for themselves: Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem.
Isaac Ambrose, Looking Unto Jesus: A View of the Everlasting Gospel; Or, the Soul's Eyeing of Jesus as Carrying on the Great Work of Man's Salvation, from First to Last (Edinburgh: Printed for James Ormiston, 1723), 246–247.


No comments: