These are only a fraction of choice quotes from Durham’s (†1658) precious work. Note the language of purpose and intention in p. 58,61,148-150,151,178–179, etc. Buy the book and see especially the whole of Sermon 3, ‘Gospel Presentations are the Strongest Invitations’, pp. 43-79 and Sermon 6, ‘The Best Wares at the Lowest Rates’, pp. 136-160.
The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, 1764, Glasgow, reprinted Soli Deo Gloria, Buy 2002
Sermon 3, ‘Gospel Presentations are the Strongest Invitations’ Matt 22:4, ‘All things are ready; come to the marriage.’
The observations are these… The fifth is that the Master of the feast, the King, God the Father, and the King’s Son, the Bridegroom, are not only content and willing, but very desirous to have sinners come to the marriage. They would fain [desire] (to speak with reverence) have poor souls espoused to Christ…
Observation 5. Christ the Bridegroom and His Father are very willing to have the match made up and the marriage completed… therefore they expostulate when this marriage is refused, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you, but you would not!” (Matt 23:37). “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if thou, even thou, hadst known in this thy day the things that belong to thy peace!” (Luke 19:42). All these sad complaints, that Israel would not hearken to His voice, and his people would have none of Him (Ps. 81:11), that He came to His own, and His own received Him not (John 1:11), and that they will not come to Him that they might have life (John 5:40), make out His willingness abundantly and undeniably.
…yea, this same King who has made this wedding ready, and has carved out this way of throughing [making good] His design, by speaking to you in His Word by His servants, speaks to you by us, and we speak to you in His name, and tell you that our blessed Lord Jesus is wooing you.
He earnestly invites you to come to the wedding… He has drawn up the contract and sent us out with it to you, to crave your subscription; and, if you are ready for that, He craves no more from you.
Are you not called to marry Christ? Is not this His revealed will to you? I protest in His name, this is the thing that you are called to…
Sermon 6, ‘The Best Wares at the Lowest Rates’, Isa. 55:3
And, to clear this a little, I suppose there are none of you but you are in some way under one of these three headings, though the external call and offer comes indifferently to you all. You are either:
Or, third… The wares are not brought forth and laid before you so that you would only (to say so) block or cheapen, and ask the price, but also, and mainly, that you would buy, eat, and feed on them.
If they will not come into the shop, as it were, it [the gospel] brings forth the wares and lays them down in the marketplace, and (as it were) one stands in the street, and cries, “Come, buy! Come and enter the covenant freely.” And this it does by a frank offer, by earnest and persuasive inviting, and by the easy conditions that it proposes the bargain on. It [the gospel] stands in a manner with arms stretched out, ready to receive all comers very freely, whatever their poverty, wants, and necessities are; it craves no more but that we willingly take what He offers to put in our hand…
Sermon 7, ‘After God Speaks Peace, Do Not Turn to Folly’
And, had we spiritual eyes to discern the condition of most men and women, who evidently are still in black nature unrenewed, who slight the offers of grace, and who will not receive Jesus Christ; the greatest idiot in the world would not be a sadder spectacle to us, nor affect our hearts with more pity and compassion, than the lamentable case of the souls of such persons would because they forsake their own mercy [see Jonah 2:8], the sure mercies of David, follow after lying vanities, and weary themselves with a vain pursuit that cannot follow them.
[Webmasters note: To see that reprobates forsake the mercy designed for them in God’s revealed will in the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel from a later writer, see John “Rabbi” Duncan’s (†1870) three paragraphs on Jonah 2:8, ‘Forsaking Our Own Mercy’]
3. Has not God been speaking peace to some, and given them the intimation of it, so that their souls have been made to say, “God is here”?… Nay, are there any but the Lord has been offering them peace to them, entreating with them, saying, “Behold Me, behold Me,” entreating and requesting them to be reconciled?