17 APRIL (PREACHED OLNEY FAIR DAY, 17 APRIL 1775)
Legal fears and gospel hopes
‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Revelation 22:17
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Romans 15:1–13
The manner in which the Word of God addresses our consciences affords a proof that it is indeed from him who knows our frame. Hope and fear are the main principles of our conduct. And what so worthy of our fear as the terrors of the Lord? His justice, power, holiness, his hatred of sin, and the wrath that hangs over sinners, is therefore set forth in lively colours that we may be stirred up to flee for refuge to Jesus. But alas in vain, unless he is pleased to accompany the letter of the word with the operation of the Spirit—then the sinner hears and trembles and can no longer put the thoughts away, but cries out with earnestness, ‘Alas! What must I do to be saved?’ [Acts 16:30]. As the law is designed to awaken our fears, so the gospel is sweetly suited to engage our hopes. How glorious are the revelations there made of the Lord Jesus Christ—the riches of his grace, and the happiness of the eternal world—to a believing soul. In comparison with these, everything else appears but loss and dung. This prospect enlivens the soul to tread upon every difficulty and to press on to the prize. When faith obtains a view of that which is within the veil, hard things become easy and bitter things sweet. With respect to all that stands in the way it says, ‘None of these things move me.’ But it is seldom thus at the first setting out. Faith in the beginning is small as a grain of mustard, weak as a bruised reed. A sight of sin, the workings of unbelief, the temptations of Satan, unite to discourage the sensitive sinner. Thus it is, thus the Lord knew it would be. And therefore he has provided the most tender, endearing and repeated invitations. He says: Matthew 11:28; John 6:37; Isaiah 1:18; and in many other places to the same effect.
A Word from JESUS calms the sea,
‘Upon my promise rest thy hope,
The stormy wind controls;
And keep my love in view;
And gives repose and liberty
I stand engaged to hold thee up,
To tempest-tossed souls.
And guide thee safely through.’
SERMON: REVELATION 22:17 [1/6] [EASTER MONDAY EVENING]