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it, the moft undoubted proof. That God might teach ue every way, he has been pleafed to leave upon record many inftances of the power of his grace exert ed in the falvation of feveral perfons, that we hear ing how he dealt with them, might from thence infer the manner we must expect to be dealt with ourfelves, and learn in what way we must look for salvation, if we truly defire to be made partakers of the inheritance with the faints in light.
The converfion of the perfon referred to in the text, I think will be of no fmall fervice to us in this matter, if rightly improved. I would hope, moft of you know who the perfon is, to whom the Lord Je fus fpeaks; it is the Publican Zaccheus, to whofe houfe the bleffed Jefus faid, Salvation came, and whom he pronounces a fon of Abraham.
It is my defign (God helping) to make fome remarks upon his converfion, recorded at large in the preceding verfes, and then to enforce the latter part of the text, as an encouragement to poor, undone fingers to come to Jefus Chrift. "For the Son of *Man is come to feek and to fave that which was "loft"
The Evangelift Luke introduce the account of this man's converfion thus, ver. 1. "And Jefus enstered and paffed through Jericho." The holy Je fus made it his bufinefs to go about doing good. As the fun in the firmament is continually fpreading bis benign, quickening, and cheering influences over the natural; fo the Sun of Righteoufnefs arofe with bealing under his wings, and was daily and hourly diffufing his gracious influences over the moral world. The preceding chapter acquaints us of a notable niiracle wrought by the holy Jefus on a poor blind Bar timeus; and in this, a greater prefents itself to our confideration. The evangelift would have us take particular notice of it; for he introduces it with the word behold: "And behold there was a man named
"Zaccheus, who was the chief among the Publi66 cans, and he was rich."
Well might the Evangelift ufher in the relation of this man's converfion with the word behold! For, according to human judgment, how many infurmountable obftacles lay in the way of it! Surely no one will fay there was any fitness in Zaccheus for falvation; for we are told that he was a Publican, and therefore in all probability a notorious finner. The Publicans were gatherers of the Roman taxes; they were infamous for their abominable extortion; their very name therefore became fo odious, that we find the Pharifees often reproached our Lord, as very wicked, because he was a friend unto, and fat down to meat with them. Zaccheus then, being a Publican, was no doubt a finner; and, being chief among the Publicans, confequently was chief among finners. Nay, he was rich. And one inspired Apostle has told us, that not many mighty, not many noble, are called, Another faith, "God has chosen the poor of "this world, rich in faith.' And he who was the Maker and the Redeemer of the Apostles, affures us,
that it is easier for a camel (or cable-rope) to "go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man "to enter into the kingdom of God." Let not therefore the rich glory in the multitude of their riches.
But rich as he was, we are told, verfe 3. that "he "fought to fee Jefus." And that was a wonder indeed! The common people heard our Lord gladly, and the poor received the gospel. The mutitude, the very mob, the people who knew not the law, as the proud high priests called them, ufed to follow bim on foot into the country, and fometimes ftayed with him three days together to bear him preach : But did the rich believe or attend on him? No. Our Lord preached up the doctrine of the crofs; he preached too fearching for them, and therefore they counted him their enemy, perfecuted and fpoke all manner of evil against him falfely. Let not the minifter
Christ marvel, if they meet with the like treatment from the rich men of this wicked and adulterous generation. I fhould think, it no fcandal (fuppofing it true) to hear it affirmed, that none but the poor attended my miniftry. Their fouls are as precious to our Lord Jefus Chrift, as the fouls of the greatest men. They were the poor that attended him in the days of his flesh: These are they whom he hath chosen to be rich in faith, and to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Were the rich in this world's goods generally to fpeak well of me, wo be unto me; I fhould think it a dreadful fign that I was only a wolf in theep's clothing, that I fpoke peace, peace, when there was no peace, and prophefied fmoother things than the gospel would allow of. Hear ye this, O ye rich. Let who will dare to do it, God forbid that! fhould defpife the poor; in doing fo, I fhould reproach my Maker. The poor are dear to my four; I rejoice to fee them fly to the doctrine of Chrift, like the doves to their windows. I only pray that the poor who attend, may be evangelized, and turned into the spirit of the gofpel: "If fo, bleffed are ye "for yours is the kingdom of heaven."
But we must return to Zaccheus. He fought to fee Jefus. That is good news. I heartily with I could fay, it was out of a good principle: But, without fpeaking contrary to that charity which hopes and believeth all things for the beft, we may fay, that the fame principle drew him after Chrift, which now draws multitudes (to fpeak plainly, it may be multitudes of you) to hear a particular preacher, even curiofity: For we are told, that he came not to hear his doctrine, but to view his perfon, or to ufe the words of the Evangelift, to fee who he was. QUE, Lord's fame was now fpread abroad through all Jerufalem, and all the country round about: Some faid he was a good man; others, nay, but he deceiveth, the people. And therefore curiofity drew out this Publican Zaccheus to fee who this perfon waŊ,
of whom he had heard fuch various accounts. it feems he could not conveniently get a fight of him for the prefs, and because he was little of ftature.. Alas! how many are kept from feeing Chrift in glory, by reason of the prefs. I mean how many are afhamed of being fingularly good, and therefore follow a multitude to do evil, because they have a prefs or throng of polite acquaintance! And, for fear of being fet at nought by those with whom they used to fit at meat, they deny the Lord of glory, and are ashamed to confefs him before men. This bafe, this fervile fear of man, is the bane of true Chriftianity; it brings a dreadful fnare upon the foul, and is the ruin of ten thousands: For I am fully perfuaded, numbers are rationally convicted of gospel-truths; but, not being able to brook contempt, they will not profecute their convictions, nor reduce them to practice. Happy thofe, who in this refpect, at least, like Zaccheus, refolved to overcome all impediments that lie in their way to a fight of Chrift: For finding he could not fee Chrift because of the prefs, and the littlenefs of his natural ftature, he did not fmite upon his breaft, and depart, faying, "It is in vain to feek after a fight of him any longer, I can never attain unto it." No, finding he could not fee Chrift, if he continued in the midft of the prefs," he ran before the multitude, and "climbed up into a fycamore-tree, to fee him; for he "was to pass that way.”
There is no feeing Chrift in glory, unlefs we rum before the multitude, and are willing to be in the number of thofe defpifed few, who take the kingdom of God by violence. The broad way, in which fo many go, can never be that straight and narrow way which leads to life. Our Lord's flock was, and always will be, comparatively a little one: And unlefs we dare to run before the multitude in a holy fingu larity, and can rejoice in being accounted fools for Chrift's fake, we shall never fee Jefus with comfort, when he appears in glory. From mentioning the fy
camore-tree, and confidering the difficulty with which Zaccheus must climb it, we may further learn, that thofe who would fee Chrift, muft undergo other difficulties and hardfhips, befides contempt. Zaccheus, without doubt went through both. Did not many, think you, laugh at him as he ran along, and in the language of Michal, Saul's daughter, cry out, how glorious did the rich Zaccheus look to-day, when, forgetting the greatnefs of his ftation, he ran before a pitiful giddy mob, and climbed up a fycamore-tree, to fee an enthufiaftic preacher! But Zaccheus cares not for all that; his curiofity was ftrong: If he could but fee who Jefus was, he did not value what fcoffers faid of him. Thus, and much more will it be with all those who have an effectual defire to fee Jefus in heaven: They will go on from strength to strength, break through every difficulty lying in their way, and care not what men or devils fay of or do unto them. May the Lord make us all thus minded, for his dear Son's fake!
At length, after taking much pains, and going (as we may well fupppfe) through much contempt, Zaccheus has climbed the tree; and there he fits, as he thinks, hid in the leaves of it, and watching when he fhould fee Jefus pafs by: "For he was to pafs by that " way."
But fing, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth! Praife, magnify, and adore fovereign, electing, free, preventing love: Jefus the everlafting God, the Prince of peace, who faw Nathaniel under the fig-tree, and Zaccheus from eternity, now fees him in the lycamore tree, and calls him in time.
Ver. 5. "And when Jefus came to the place, he looked up, and faw him, and faid unto him, Zaċ"cheus, make hafte and come down; for this day "I must abide at thy houfe." Amazing love! Well might Luke usher in the account with behold! It is worthy of our highest admiration. When Zaccheus thought of no fuch thing, nay, thought that Chrift