The Great Salvation, Sermon 2Andrew Gray (1634-1656) - A Powerful Preacher Who Died at a Young Age
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THERE are two great and most ordinary complaints in these days
1. There are many who complain that their estates and persons are in bondage, and that they are sold as slaves to the hand of strangers. But, O that we could also turn over the complaint to this, That our souls are in bondage, and that we are yet in time gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity; that so we might be provoked to long for the great salvation that is in our offer.
2. There are many complaining (and not without much cause) that there is now such a toleration of errors. But wilt thou complain also of this, that within thy heart there is a toleration of lusts? Is there not an act of to1et concluded within thy breast, that the devil and his company may reign in thee at pleasure? Oh! have ye not need of this great salvation ? Shall I tell you that Christ is courting you to embrace it; that he putteth on all his most glorious robes, and manifesteth himself unto you, as a suitor making offer of himself, and of his great salvation? O tell me! have ye seen him? Or do ye think to see him this day? What robes had he on? There are five glorious robes wherewith he clothes himself, when he condescendeth to manifest himself to his people.
First, He cometh to his own with the garments of salvation, according to that word, Zech. 9:9, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation. Nay, your King is come here today, and will ye not fall in love with him, when he is clothed with the garments of salvation? Can ye ever have a more conquering sight of Christ than when he is clothed with such an excellent robe, and offering you salvation?
Secondly, He appeareth to his own sometimes in a garment dyed in blood, according to that word, Isa. lxiii. 1, Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments in blood, as one that treadeth the wine-fat? And now I say to thee that will not look to Christ, when he appears in the garments of salvation, have ye a heart to refuse him that hath fought such a combat for you; who hath trode the winepress alone, and hath stained all his garments with the blood of his enemies? Or is there any here who dare refuse this salvation, when they see how he treadeth his enemies in anger, and trampleth them in his fury, and thus sprinkleth their blood on his garments? O tremble at this sight, and seek quarters from him in time, or he shall dye his garments with the blood of thy immortal soul.
Thirdly, Christ appeareth unto his own, being clothed with those humble robes of condescendency, when he came in the similitude of sinful flesh. O ! what a sight was that, to behold the Prince of Heaven clothed with our nature? What a sight was that to behold him, that was clothed with light as with a garment, to be clothed with our infirmities? Yet he condescended to clothe himself thus, that we might have access unto him, and be partakers of his gift. O! can we refuse him, when we have thus pressed him to put on beggars’weeds, that he might say to worms, ye are my brethren, and my sisters.
Fourthly, Christ sometimes manifesteth himself, being clothed with the garments of beauty and ravishing majesty; such was the sight that the spouse got of Christ, Cant. 2:3, As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons; and Cant. v., when she saw him, white and ruddy, and the standard-bearer of ten thousand; such was that joyful sight of him, when his garments were as the light, and white as the snow, which he had at the transfiguration, when those glorified ones did come, as it were, ambassadors from the higher house to make him a visit.
Fifthly, Christ sometimes appeareth to his own in robes of dreadful majesty, and terrible highness and loftiness, when that soul, upon the first sight of him, remains dead, and there remains no more life in them; such was the sight that Daniel got, in his 10:chap., and such was the sight that John got of Christ, Rev. 1:13. And I would ask at all that are here, what a sight have ye got of Christ to-day; in which of all these robes have ye seen him It is true, we are not now to look for the extraordinary sights of him ; but yet, if ever thou liast seen him in any of his wooing robes, sure he hath appeared matchless, and how shall ye then refuse him?
But now to come to the words I was speaking of unto you : – The first thing in the words, viz. That there are many who live under the offer of this great salvation, that do slight it, and do not embrace it: and now I shall only add a few things further unto you.
I. Let me propose a few considerations to persuade you to embrace this great salvation. God forbid we go away before we embrace this gospel salvation. Therefore, I charge you in his name, go not away before ye embrace it. And to press it home upon you, there are these eight or nine properties of this great salvation, that is offered unto you this day.
First, It is a free salvation: ye have no more ado, but to put forth your hand and take it. O come and take it. Christ hath fought for this salvation, and there is no more required of you, but to come and reap the fruits of his victory; Whosoever will, let him come. There is nothing that should move you to stay away, O captives and bond slaves to Satan. O prisoners of hope ! will ye come and partake of the great salvation ? What holds you from coming away and partaking of it ? It is freely offered unto you; aye, believe it, Christ requires no more of you, but that ye should come and take it out of his hand: if ye consent to obey, the bargain is ended; Ye shall eat the good of the land, Isa 1:19.
Secondly, This great salvation is a complete salvation, that is offered unto you today; this is clear, Luke 1:47, That we might be saved frosn our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us. There is not an enemy that is in thy way, but if thou wilt come and partake of the great salvation, thou mayst have victory over it; so complete a salvation it is that is in your offer today. O ! shall we pass away, and not embrace it? O shall your cursed hearts undervalue this complete salvation that is come to your door? Believe it, salvation is near unto you, if ye will take it.
Thirdly, It is a wonderful salvation: it is such a salvation as the angels desire to pry into; and it is such a salvation, that all the prophets desire to pry into. It is almost six thousand years since all the angels in heaven fell into a sea of wonder at this great salvation. It is almost six thousand years since Abel fell into a sea of wonder at this great salvation : and what think ye is his exercise this day? He is even wondering at this great salvation. Would ye ask at all the angels in heaven, would they not all say, O embrace this great salvation? Would ye ask at all the saints that are above, would they not advise you to embrace this great salvation ? Would you ask at Adam, would he not say, O embrace this great salvation? Would ye ask at Abel, would he not say, O embrace this great salvation? And would not all the patriarchs say unto you, O embrace this great salvation? And do not all that have tasted of the sweetness of it, cry out unto you, Come and embrace the great salvation ?
The Fourth property of this salvation is, that it was bought at an exceeding dear rate: it is a dear salvation. Would ye know the difference betwixt Christ’s coming to this salvation, and your coming to it? It is this, Christ was forced to travel through all the armies 0f the justice of God; he was forced to drink of the cup of the wrath of God, before he could come to purchase this great salvation. And now what is required of you to obtain this ? We may say no more, but put out your hands, and take it. Will ye look to the price that was laid down for this salvation ? There is not a wound in the body of Christ but saith, this is a dear salvation. There is not a reproach Christ met with but saith, O is not this a dear salvation? There is not a buffeting Christ met with but saith, O is not this a dear salvation? There is not a necessity that He was put into but saith, Is not this a great and dear salvation ? O sirs will ye not come and take this great salvation, this dear salvation? What must I give for it, say ye? I say, ye must give nothing for it; come and take it, without money, and without price : it was dear to Christ, but it shall be cheap unto you. O! is it not cheap to you? I assure you, if you will come to the market to buy the great salvation, there is none of you that needeth to stand for the price of it. O come and take it, and have it, and there will be no more prigging.
Fifthly, It is an everlasting salvation, that ye shall enjoy the fruits of throughout eternity; as is clear, Heb. 5:9, He became the author of eternal redemption unto us. It is a salvation that the devil can never be able to take out of your hand ; if ye take it, ye shall never be robbed of it again. O come, partake of this great salvation, whereby the gates of hell shall never prevail against you.
Sixthly, It is a noble and honourable salvation: it is not to be taken out of one slavery to another, but it is to be taken out of prison, that ye may reign, Luke 1:71 ; compared with verse 74, it is, That we being saved, may serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our lift. I say, come, come, and partake of this great salvation, that your glory may be increased, and that ye may be exalted above the kings of the earth.
Seventhly, It is a most advantageous salvation : what are the advantages of any salvation, that are not to be found in this? Is there not peace to be found through this salvation Is there not liberty to be found through this salvation? Is there not eternal enjoyment of God to be found through this salvation? Yea, all salvations are in this one salvation.
Lastly, It is a royal salvation; for it cometh to us from, and through, the Son of God: Christ is the Author of it: and, we conceive, Christ may be said to be the Author of this salvation, in these respects : – l. He is the meritorious cause that did procure it; it was the price of his blood that was laid down for it, to purchase this great salvation 2. He is the fountain from whence it floweth, according to that which we have cited, Heb. 5:9, He became the Author of eternal salvation. 3. He is the person that fitteth our spirits for partaking of it; and it is he that rernoveth mountains out o the way, that we may have fair access unto the great salvation. 4. It is he that must persuade our hearts to embrace and take hold of it. He standeth without, and crieth unto the heart to embrace this great salvation ; and he standeth within, making the heart cry out, Content, I will embrace the great salvation: he is indeed the person that commendeth, and doth point out this great salvation unto us. He is the noble minister of it, – it began first to be preached by him.
Now, is there any of you that hath fallen in love with this great salvation? That ye may try yourselves, I shall give you some evidences of the persons that are near unto this great salvation.
1. Is thy estimation of the great salvation increased by what it was in the morning, when thou earnest hither? Is thy estimation of the great gospel salvation increased a foot higher than it was in the morning? I say unto thee, thou art not far from the great salvation ; come away.
2. Is thy desire after the great salvation increased by what it was in the morning? Hast thou stronger desires after the great salvation, than before thou earnest hither? That is an evidence thou art not far from it.
3. Are thy thoughts of thy necessity of the great salvation greater than they were? Thinkest thou that thou hast more need of the great salvation than ever thou thoughtest before? And are thy opinion and thoughts of saving thyself less than they were before thou earnest hither? Art thou forced to cry out, None but Christ can save me? I say, thou art not far from the great salvation. Wilt thou come away? O that ye would once seal this conclusion with much heart persuasion. I am undone without Christ, I am undone without Christ, who is the Author of this great salvation. Are there any of you that are sensible that ye are in the fetters of sin, and in the bonds of iniquity? Are ye brought to the conviction of this, that ye are in the gall of bitterness? I say, if thou art brought to this length, to be sensible of thy bonds, and art crying out, O Redeemer, hasten, and come away – I say, if thou art sensible of thy bonds and imprisonment, and crying out, O thou that wast anointed from eternity, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound – O hasten, and come away, and redeem me, even poor me, sinking, sinning, perishing, self-destroying me, – thou art not far from the great salvation.
4. Art thou a person who beginneth to weep, because thou hast been so long a stranger to Christ, and the great salvation? Old men that are here, how long have ye been strangers to the great salvation, and to the Author of it? Now, will ye shed one tear for your estrangements, and cry out, Woe is me, that Christ and I have been so long asunder? I say, if thou hast come that length, thou art not far from the great salvation; come away: O pity yourselves ! make haste, make haste, and come away.
But now, in the Third place, let me give you some evidences by which ye may know more clearly whether or not ye have embraced this great salvation; that ye may know yourselves, and that ye walk not down to your graves with a lie in your right hand. The first evidence of a person that hath embraced this great salvation, is that he will have a high esteem of the Saviour and Author of the great salvation. Hast thou a matchless esteem of matchless Christ, the Saviour of the world? That is a speaking evidence unto thee, that thou art a partaker of the great salvation : art thou come this length that thou criest out, None but Christ, none but Christ? It is aspeaking evidence, that thou art come to be partaker of the great salvation, when thou canst cry out that word, Exod. xv 2, The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation. If Christ hath become thy salvation, then it is like he hath become thy song. I would ask this at you, were ye ever brought this length, that ye durst never advance to praise Christ alone, but were forced to call all the creatures, and say, O magnify the Lord with me ! O that is an evidence that ye have embraced this great salvation.
Secondly, Those who have embraced the great salvation will study to maintain and keep their grips of it; they will study to hold fast so precious a jewel; this is pressed, Gal. 5:1, Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. Yea, they will study to walk suitably in this noble mercy; at least, they will strive and endeavour to do it, as is also pressed in that same verse. I say, if thou hast been made a partaker of the gospel.salvation, thou wilt strive to keep thyself from the power of these things that once triumphed over thee.
Thirdly, A person that is a partaker of the great salvation, will have a high esteem of this mercy and salvation; so Paul, when he speaketh of it here, cannot but put some note of excellency to it, calling it the great salvation: therefore I say, if thou hast embraced the great salvation, thou wilt have so high an esteem of it, that not to be subjected to it as thou shouldst, or to be in subjection to the power of thy lust in any measure, will be thy burden and affliction. The man will be sorry when he is brought forth from the house of bondage into the Red Sea; he will be sorry, that when he should have songs of triumph over his idols put in his mouth, they should sing songs of triumph over him.
Fourthly, A person that hath embraced the great salvation will be longing sometimes for the day when his salvation shall be complete, when he shall sing that song with that numerous multitude, which cannot be numbered, Rev. 7:9. O what a day shall it be, when thou shalt begin that song! After this (saith he) I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and they cried: and how cried they? They cried with a loud voice. They would not mutter the song, nor sing silently, but cried with a loud voice: and what did they cry? They cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. I would only ask you that are partaker of the great salvation, what songs shall be put into thy mouth, when the waters of Jordan shall divide themselves, that the ransomed of the Lord may pass through? When shalt thou sing that song, Psalm cxv. 1, Not unto US, not unto us, but unto thee belongs the glory of our salvation? O what a day shall it be, when that excellent song shall be put into thy mouth?
Yea, what a day shall it be, when thou shalt be clothed with these excellent garments that are made mention of; Isa. lxi. 10, For he hath clothed thee with the garments of salvation, and he hath covered thee with the robes of righteousness. O what robes are these? Did ye ever see such excellent robes as these must be? I think we will misken ourselves : O do ye not think we will misken ourselves, when we shall put on these excellent robes? Now, therefore, is the bargain closed? Or will ye go away before ye take this great salvation? I would ask this at you, think ye it will not be most sad, that Christ should tell this in heaven of you tonight, I was preaching to a pack of stones, that none of them would love me? Will ye not be afraid that this report shall be carried back to heaven of you? For what report can Christ carry back but this? Now is the cord of this great salvation let down unto you; is there none of you that will take a grip of it? O will ye fighter after it? Will ye make this a rejoicing day in heaven, that is a fasting day unto you? And the way to make it so, is to embrace the great salvation.
Now, what say ye to it, old men? Let me speak to you, and ask your thoughts of the great salvation; gray hairs should be a crown of glory, if they be found in the way of righteousness. Old men, speak your minds, that young men may not have your bad example; – what say ye of this great salvation? Is it not a most glorious salvation? Is it not a most excellent salvation that is in your offer? I entreat you, speak your minds; tell Christ that ye are content to take the great salvation otherwise, whoever he be that will not partake of this gospel salvation, I, in the name and authority of Christ our Maker, denounce eternal and irrevocable war against him; put on your harness; ye shall not boast when ye put it off again: the wrath and fury of God shall come upon thee to the uttermost, if ye embrace not this great salvation. Other wars are but for a time: the greatest captains that ever the earth did carry, are now laid down in the sides of the pit, and their swords broken under their heads. Armies of ten hundred thousand, an hundred years’ time have laid them all in their graves, and ended all their contests; but there is no discharge in this war, that shall be concluded betwixt Christ and you ; it shall become an eternal and most terrible war, which shall be but beginning when time is ended.
Now peace, or war, which of them will ye choose? Dare ye send a charge to Christ, and say that ye will defy him? I am afraid there shall be two things that many of us shall report to-day :
First, I am afraid there will be many that will give Pharoali’s report to the great salvation, and say, Who is the Lord, that I should obey him ? I tell you who he is, – he is glorious in holiness, feasful in praises, doing wonders. O embrace him before ye go hence, and give not Pharaoh’s report, lest ye be drowned in the sea of his wrath, whence there shall be no recovery.
Secondly, I fear there will be many here to.day, that will give Demas’s report to this precious offer: I will go and forsake Christ, and embrace this present world. O bad exchange; cursed be he that will make it. Will ye be of Demas’s humour? I fear there have been many of that humour a long time; but I entreat you once to be wise before ye die. I confess that proverb, Old fools are twice fools. I think old men that will not embrace the great salvation are triple old fools; what wait you for – is there anything that can afford you any satisfaction but this great salvation? Now, are ye convinced, old men, that Christ is waiting for your answer ; I entreat you, before ye go hence, speak your minds; what think ye of the great salvation? Is it not a lovely salvation? Is it not lovely now? What say ye to it? I am to go away, and the offer is to be taken up at this time, and it is hard to say, if ever ye shall have an offer again. I would only say this to you, and be sure of it, though I should never be a partaker of this great salvation, yet I shall be a witness against you that are not partakers of it. I tell and declare unto you, I shall be a witness against you, if ye embrace not this great salvation. Now, old men, are ye persuaded to embrace it? Let me obtest you by the beauty of Christ, come and partake of the great salvation, ye that are travelling upon the borders of eternity.
Now, if ye will give no more, give this, will ye go home and think upon it? I shall not be uncharitable, nor enter to judge your thoughts. I fear there will be many declared and found guilty among us, that we have declared unto heaven, we will not embrace this great salvation, but have trodden the blood of the Son of God under foot. Now, I entreat every one of you ask at yourselves, if ye be the persons that will presume in your hearts to do so; now, I shall leave it with you, let it not be a witness against you. I shall leave it with this, O come away, old men, young men, old women, and maids, come and embrace this precious gospel salvation? Ye may say, ye bid us come, but we cannot come. I desire no more of you, but to come with this – Lord, I am content to come, but I cannot come. Come once to that, for, if once ye be content to receive it, it will not be long before ye be able to receive it. Now, shall Christ depart, and will none of you say, ye are content to take him ? Will ye charge your own consciences with this, am I content to take Christ, and the great salvation? O blest, blest, blest, be he that is the Author of this great salvation ; and blest be he that gets any of the ends of the cords of the great salvation, that he sink not under the wrath and fury of the Lord. Come and embrace this great salvation? And again, I say, come and embrace it; for what can ye have, if ye want it? And what can ye want, if ye have it ? I shall say no more, but close with that word, Isa. lxii. ii, Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, to those that are afar off: what hath he proclaimed? Say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold, thy salvation cometh – behold, it cometh, I say unto you that are the ends of the world, salvation is brought near unto you. Stout-hearted and far from righteousness, the great salvation is brought near unto you ; and will ye send it away? O consider what ye are doing. And to him that can persuade you to embrace this great salvation, we desire to give praise.
Andrew Gray was an exceptionally gifted young preacher. This work is a set of 5 treatises to establish the heart of believers in Christ and give them assurance. Gray is one of the easiest Scottish puritans to read.