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ON THE ADMISSION OF TWO PERSONS TO THE
ESTHER V. 6.
And the king said unto Esther, at the banquet of wine,
What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request ? even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be performed,
This, for an earthly monarch, was noble and
generous. But the King of Kings does nothing by halves. The meanest of his servants is a king, and is possessor of a kingdom extensive and glorious, in comparison with which, the wholeempireof Ahasuerus is no more than the smallest particle of sand. · In the distribution of his favours, he regards the majesty of his own character more than the meanness of ours. His bounty is confined by no restrictions. Ask what ye will, and it shall be given you.
If ye ask for grace, for a pardon, and a title to the favour of God through the infinite merits and righteousness of Christ, for the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Ghost, they shall be freely bestowed. Yea, if you ask for an interest in the various perfections and attributes of Jehovah himself, bold as the request may seem, it shall not be denied
you. For all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive. He loves to satisfy enJarged and earnest desires; and takes pleasure in them that hope in his mercy.
Now, my friends, suppose that you were in the condition of this highly favoured queen. Imagine yourselves to be encouraged, by the golden sceptre of mercy, to draw near to the throne of grace, and invited to sit down with the king at the table. Suppose that the Prince of Peace, with infinite condescension and tenderness were to say first to one of you, What is thy petition ? and then to the other, What is thy request? I can easily conceive, what in that case would be the state of your minds. Confounded and overwhelmed at such profusion of grace, with tears of mingled gratitude and joy, and with hearts full of love and thankfulness, though you are in want of every thing, yet you are so charmed and lost, in the contemplation of your kind and condescending Saviour, as to forget what you need, or at least want words to express your request. Will
you then give me leave to draw up and present your petition for you?
“ Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on us. We blush, and are ashamed to lift upour faces to thee; for we have sinned; and what shall we say to thee, O thou preserver of men? We were lying like the rest of the world in wickedness; we were dead in trespasses and sins, and in the greatest extremity of misery and danger; and at the same time insensible, helpless, hope. less. But we heard thy gracious proclamation, Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; and, drawn by these cords of love, we are come unto thee, for thou art the Lord
our God. We have renounced the world; we have burst asunder the bands of iniquity, and would bind ourselves to thee in a perpetual covenant, that shall never be forgotten. Blessed Jesus, be surety to thy servants for good. We presume not to make terms with thee: but one thing we desire of the Lord, and that we would seek after,-that we may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, and have the honour and happiness of belonging to thy family. We have not the ambition to expect to sit on thy right hand, and on thy left, in thy kingdom. If thou make us hewers of wood, or drawers of water, or door-keepers in thy house, the meanest station under thy roof will be thankfully accepted. Only fit us for thy service, and assist us in it; and then neither bonds nor affliction shall move us. Yea, though we should die with thee, yet we will not deny thee. This is our request, this is our petition ; and we humbly hope that thou wilt give us the desire of our hearts. For we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken, and do; defer not for thy name's sake, O our God."
Since I have now spoken for you to God, give me leave, as an ambassador of Christ, to speak for God to you. Why are ye cast down, and why are ye so disquieted within you? Why is all that confusion and trembling, as if you were addressing a tyrant instead of a father; as if the rod of iron were held over you, rather than the golden sceptre of mercy? The Per. sian monarchs affected such an awful severity towards their subjects, that it was death to them to appear in their presence uncalled. But how safe, how easy, ,
how pleasant is it to approach the King of Heaven; who is pleased with our freedom, and to whom the prayer of the upright is a delight! Over confident expectations, indeed, are generally disappointed; but humble desires go joyfully away. For “ thus saith the high and lofty one, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the hearts of the contrite ones. My grace shall be sufficient for you, my strength shall be made perfect in your weakness; and unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my
kindness shall not depart from you, nor the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on you."
These are a few of those exceeding great and precious promises, with which the covenant of grace abounds. Do you not wonder then at yourselves, that you should have been so long backward, and averse to its gracious proposals ? And are you not still more surprised at the overflowing riches of divine goodness and mercy, that bore with such repeated and contemptuous refusals ? He sent out one mes. senger after another; and at last, as it were, compelled you to come in, and drink of the wine which infinite Wisdom has mingled. By your appearance here this day, I presume that the treaty is concluded; the happy reconciliation is at length completed; and that ye who once were afar off, are brought nigh by the death of his son; and I trust that it is your settled,
determined, irrevocable resolution, that he shall be your God, and that you will be his people.
Now, my fellow-Christians, my fellow soldiers, fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life; to which you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give you charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things; and before Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that you keep his commandments without spot, unrebukeable, unto the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. Various and formidable are the enemies which you must encounter, But you know who has said, “ Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee, with the right hand of my righteousness.” To God, therefore, we commend you, and to the word of his grace; who, in defiance of the fiercest opposition of earth and hell, is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among them who are sanctified.