Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

108 STNS AND SORROSVS SPREAD BEFORE GOP. SERM. vL REFLECTION II. How happy are we under the gospel, above all ages and nations besides us, and before us.! For we have advantages of getting near to God, beyond what utiy other religion has; above what the heathen' world ever enjoyed ; for their light of nature could never shew them the throne of grace : above what the ancient patrie archs had, though God came down in visible shapes, and revealed and discovered himself to them as a man or an angel : above what the Jews 'had, though God dwelt among them in visible glory, in the holy of holies. The people were kept at a distance, and the high -priests were to come thither but once a year; and their veil, and smokes, and shadows, did, as it were, conceal God from them,. although they were types of a future Mes-. siah; and even their shekinah itself, or cloud of glory, gave them no spiritual idea or notion Of godhead, though it was a shining emblem of God dwelling among them. We have better ordinances, and brighter mediums of converse with God ; we have more powerful assistances to raise us heavenward ; we have the Messiah, the Em- manuel ; that is, God inflesh, God come near us, that we may get near to him ; we have the promise of the Spirit, which is one of the glorious privileges ofthe gos- pel; -Eph. ii. 13, 18. "Ye who sometimes were afar of; are made nigh through the bloodof Christ : and through him have we access by one Spirit to the Father." Through. Christ Jesus, and the purchase of his blood, and the working of his Spirit, we approach to the Father, we are brought near to God. And this very method, viz. the atonement of the blood ofChrist, and the working of the Spirit by which we are brought near to God in our first conversion, are the ways by which we must draw near hirn in duty ever afterward it is by the same atonement, and by the same Spirit. We are continually contracting fresh guilt, and were it not for the perpetuity of the virtue of that sacri- fice, our guilt would be an irremovable bar against our conning nearto God daily and hourly; and after every newsin; were it not for that Spirit, we could never get near.tq God again : but- that Spirit is promised to abide withus, John xiv. 16., and in Heb. iv. 14,, 16. Christ