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it is faith alone that fetches nourishment from Christ, and makes a person to find the sweetness that is in him, and draws virtue from him: and thus it has the most close and intimate union and communion with him, insomuch that he is one with the foul, and the soul one with him.
4. As faith brings us into union and communion with Chrift, so faith brings the Spirit of God down into the heart. I own indeed, that, in the work of regeneration and converfion, he is like the rain, that waits not for the sons of men;" he comes unsent for, or unfought for ; “ he is found of them that seek him not ;" faith has no instrumentality there; faith itself is a part of the new creature, that is formed by the hand of the Spirit. . But, I say, faith brings the Spirit into the heart, as a Spirit of sanctification, and of confolation, Eph. i. 13. “ In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise.” Gal. iii, 14. we are said to “re. ceive the promise of the holy Spirit through faith.” All the fulness of the Spirit dwells in Christ, for the ufe of his mystical body; now, it is by faith that this fulness is received, even grace for grace. ;.
s. I might tell you further, that our standing in a state of grace is by faith. As we have access or entrance into a state of grace, so we have standing in that state by faith, Rom, v. 2. 2 Cor. i. ult. " By faith ye stand." | Pet. i. 5. we are faid to be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” There you lee, that faith is joined in commission with the power of God, to keep the believer. Doth the power of God keep you ? so doth faith. God is not shy of aferibing that lo faith, which is peculiar only to himself, because faith ascribes all to the power of God, and gives him the honour of every thing that it doth: hence we are said to be “ kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” When other graces, such as love, repentance, &c. do fag and fail, and have as it were their heels tript up, faith will stand its ground: hence, Eph. vi. 16. there is a particular mark of diftinction put upon, faith beyond all the other pieces of armour; “ Above all, take the field of faith.” When a man's head-piece is crackt, his fword, his breastplate, and other armour iş taken from him ; yet his shield will do him good service, he will lie under it, and thereby defend himself againtt all: the strokes and blows that are levelled at him. Let the devil, corruption, and hell, rage and roar as they will, yet faith will keep its gripe, and maintain its ground: let Satan cast his fiery darts,faith quenches them, Eph. vi. 16. i let indwelling fin roar and rage, faith will say, Let it rage, yet it shall never reign ; for God has said, that "lin shall not have dominion :" yea, let God himself carry
to God, who faith wil wer
as an enemy, and set himself in battle-array against the soul; yet even then faith will look in his face, and say, “ Though thou shouldst even kill me, yet will I trust in thee,” Job xiii. 15. When other graces are fainting, and crying, “ We know not what to do;" faith will say, “ Mine eyes are toward thee: I will look unto the Lord: I will wait for the God of my salvation : my God will hear me : Though I hit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me,” &c. When other graces, like poor faint-hearted things, and as it were trembling, and crying, " Who shall deliver us?” faith will lift up the head, and cry, " Thanks be to God, which giveth me the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ."
6. It is faith that fetches in peace and quiet to the soul in the midft of trouble, whether from without or from within. · When nothing but storms from heaven, earth, and hell, are blowing on the soul, faith will cast out its anchor of hope, and keep the soul steady and quiet, faying with David, Pial. xlii. 11. " Why art thou cast down, O my soul ! and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him.” To the same purpose is that famous text, 11. xxvi. 3. “ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee : because he trufteth in thee." And how is the mind stayed on the Lord but by faith? Oh, says faith, let me have what tribulation I will “ in the world, yet in Christ I shall have peace: This man shall be my peace, when the Affyrian comes into the land.”
7. Faith not only brings peace, but joy into the soul, amidst all other disturbances from without : hence we are said to be filled with joy, as well as peace, in believing. And, 1 Pet. j. 8.“ Whom having not seen, we love; in whom though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glo. ry." The language of faith is, Psal xlvi. at the beginning, « God is our refuge and strength : and therefore, though the mountains fhould be removed, yet there is a river, the Itreams whereof do make glad the city of God."
8. It is by faith that we are recovered after falls into an. Many a time the devil, the world, temptation, and corruption, so far prevail againft the believer, as to trip up his heels : “ The righteous man he falleth seven times a day.". Now, in such a case, what is it that recovers him? It is faith : “ Though I fall, I shall arise (says faith); for the Lord uphold. eth me with his hand.” Oh Sirs, if you let faith go, wlien you fall into fin, you cannot miss to fall into the bottom ; just like a man climbing up a ladder, if his foot dip, and he quic the gripe of his hand also, what can hinder him froin falling down to the ground ? When Chrift foresaw that Peter
would sin by denying him, what said he? “ I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” As if he had said, I plainly see that thou wilt deny me in the hour of temptation ; but I have prayed that thy faith may not fail, and this is the thing that will recover thee. Oh Sirs, when you fall into any fin, study to renew the acts of faith on the Lord Jesus Chrift; according to that advice of the apostle, 1 John ii. 1. 2. “ If any man fin, we have an Advocate with the Father.” As if he had said, The only way for a fallen faint to recover himself, is by faith to go to Christ as the great Advocate and Propitia. tion.
9. I might tell you further, that faith as it were the mothergrace, the radical grace, on which all the other graces of the Spirit do depend. If faith be lively, fo will all the other graces be; if faith be languid and faint, so will all the other graces be. If faith be set a-work, it will work by love, that celestial fire will burn, the fountatn of holy sorrow will flow; “ They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn;" the foot of obedience will be active to " run the way of God's commandments.”
10. Faith carries the soul on high, above time and time's enjoyments ; it « mounts up with wings as eagles.” It carries the soul to mount Nebo and Pisgah, and gives the soul a view of the goodly mountain, even Lebanon'; and then the believer is like the "woman clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet.”
To conclude, as it is by faith that you must live, so it is by faith you must die, and shoot the gulf comfortably. It is said of the worthies, Heb. xi. “ All these died in faith.” Faith as it were lays its head in Christ's bosom, and says, with a holy confidence, “ Into thy hand, O Lord, I commend my spirit." Faith, leaning on the staff of the divine promise, can say with David, “ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff shall comfort me,” Psal. xxiii. 4.
A second question that may be moved for clearing this exhortation is, What is it in Christ that faith lives and leans upon, in its passage through the wilderness ?
Answ. Christ is such a suitable good, that there is no case the soul can be into in its wilderness-condition, but faith will always find something corresponding to its neceflity in him. Is the soul in darkness? He is “ the Son of righteousness, the bright and morning Star.” Is the soul in danger ? He is “ a shield, a hiding place, and refuge." Is the soul in trouble? He is a rest to the weary, he is “the shadow of a great Tock in a weary land;" he is bread to the hungry, drink to the
thirsty soul. But, more particularly, there are these things following in Christ, that faith lives upon in the wilderness, and which it finds like marrow and fatness to the soul.
1. Faith lives and leans upon the name of Christ ; for “ his name is a strong tower, into which the righteous flee, and are fase :” hence we are so frequently exhorted to “ trust in the name of the Lord.” O he has a great name, and a pleasant name," a name above every name, and at his name every knee shall bow.” Whenever a believer engages with work, he is to do it in the name of the Lord: “ Whatłoever ye do in word or in deed, (says the apostle), do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, to the glory of God by him." And whenever we go a warfare againlt lin, Satan, or the world, we are to do it in his name; otherwise we can never profper. This was the way of the church: “ We will be joyful in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banner3. Whenever we go to God in prayer, we are to present our persons and petitions in the name of Christ : “ Whatsoever ye' alk the Father in my name, he will do it.” Oh Sirs, the name of Christ works wonders, when it is managed in a way of believing. When the disciples or apofties went forth and preached the gospel among the nations, they went forth in the name of Jesus; and when they wrought miracles, they did it in the name of Jesus Christ: Acts iii.“ In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk,” said Peter and John to the cripple man; and presently he arose. God is so delighted with the name of Chrilt, that for the sake of that name he will do any thing to us or for us. And therefore let us live by faith, and lean upon his name, as we come up out of the wilderness.
2. Faith lives upon the flesh of Christ, that is, upon the human nature as it stands personally united unto the divine : “My flesh is meat indeed." You know, Israel in their travels through the wilderness to Canaan, which was a shadow or type of our travels through this world unto glory, they lived upon the manna that was rained from heaven upon the camp, But, O Sirs, that was but a shadow of the true bread of lite, an incarnate God, that we present to you in this gospel, John ri. 32. “ My Father giveth you the true bread which is from heaven.” And again, says Christ, in that sanie chapter, “ Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” This seems to be a hard saying to a blind carnal world, and they are ready to think or lay, with these Jews, John vi. 52. “ How can Chrilt give us his fleih to eat?" But whatever ye may think of it, the flesh of Christ, or his human nature, as it stands united to the divine in the VOL. II.
person of the Son, when taken up by faith in the light of the word and Spirit, is the sweetest meal and banquet to a believer in heaven'or earth; no meat or drink like it to a poor perishing soul : and a believer, in travelling through the wilderness, he is ay taking a look of an incarnate Deity; and thus he is enlighte ened, strengthened, quickened, and comforted. O Sirs, what think you of this food ? I am sure if ever ye tasted of it, you will be ready to say, it is like “ wines on the lees well refined, and fat things full of marrow."
3. Faith lives in the wilderness, not only on the flesh of Christ, or the mysteries of his incarnation, but upon the blood of Christ; by which I understand his satisfaction, which is frequently in scripture expressed by his blood : “ Behold the blood of the covenant;" that is, the satisfaction or death of Christ, that whereby the covenant is confirmed. This is drink indeed to the believer, in passing through the wilderness; let the believer get a draught of this red wine of the blood of the · Alain Lamb of God, he is able to go forth lile a giant, or a
Itrong man, to encounter all the powers of hell. Rev. xii. 11. It is said of the saints in their wars with the devil, that “ they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb," that is by faith's improvement of the death and satisfaction of Christ. Let faith be but set a-work upon the death and blood of Christ, it can look God himself in the face with an undaunted boldness, without fear of danger, or without fear of being rejected: “ Having, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near,” &c. Let faith act on the blood of Christ, it can go to God in prayer, and ask any thing that lies within the compass of the whole testament of Christ ; for whatever is in the testament, is the purchase of this blood. O, will faith say, give me peace, give me pardon, give me light, life, strength, grace, or glory, give me the Spirit ; for hore is the blood of the Lamb that bought it. Let faith be acted on this blood, and the man dare, with courage, comfort, and joy, look death, eternity, and a tribunal, in the face : Why? Because faith fees the curse of the law abolished, death untinged, the grave vanquished, and a tribunal sprinkled by the blood of Jesus. The gates of glory are opened to receive the soul that is sprinkled by the hyffop of faith dipt in the blood of the Lamb.
4. Faith lives in the wilderness upon the life of Christ : “ Because I live, ye thall live also. I live (says Paul); yet not 1, but Christ liveth in me;" and then follows, “ The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Faith's way is to follow Chrift from his birth to his cross, from his cross to his grave, and from his grave to his