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„ching, yet true, Mark ix. 24. I believe; help mix belief. If the foul have as much faith ch, as to venture itself on Chrift, though the a the contract with a trembling heart, e doubting will never be commended, Sription will be sustained.
The perional object of faith is,
General, God the Father, Son, and Holy as we profess in the creed, John xiv. 1. Te in God, believe also in me.
Special; Jefus Chrift, as in the text. He is Sect of faith as it faves and juftifies the finner,
by the brazen ferpent in the wilderness, to the wounded Ifraelites were to look, and the was healing, John iii. 14. 15. And Chrift's on is the primary object of juftifying faith, If 22. Look unto me, and be ye faved, all the ends e earth. And his benefits, merits, righteouf Cs, &c. are the fecondary object thereof, Phil, iii. 6. Tea doubtless, and I count all things but lofs, for
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jefus my d: for whom I have fuffered the loss of all things, e de count them but dung that I may win Chrift, and found in him, not having mine own righteousness, ich is of the law, but that which is through the Sth of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by
V. I proceed to confider the faving and justifying ats of faith. These are,
1. Receiving him as he is offered in the gospel, as in the text; cordially clofing with him, and heartily confenting to take him as he is offered. Hereby the fpiritual marriage-tie betwixt Chrift and the foul is made. Chrift gives his confent in the gofpel-offer, and the finner gives his by faith clofing with the offer. Now he is offered in the gospel in all his offices. So faith is a receiving of Chrift.
(1.) As a Prophet to be our Teacher, Guide,
and Leader, renouncing our own wifdom, Matth,
(2.) As a Prieft, renouncing all merit and confidence in one's felf, duties, and fufferings, and betaking one's felf to Chrift, his obedience and death, for all, If. xlv. 24. Surely fhall one fay, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.
(3) As a King, renouncing all ftrange lords, and receiving him for abfolute Governor in the foul and over the whole man, yielding to bear the yoke of his commands, and the yoke of his crofs. I xxvi. 13. O Lord our God, fays the church, other lords befides thee have had dominion over us: but l thee only will we make mention of thy name.
2. Refting on him as he is offered in all his offices too, If. xxvi. 3. 4. Thou wilt keep him in perfec peace, whofe mind is stayed on thee: because he trufeth in thee. Truft ye in the Lord for ever: for in th Lard Jehovah is everlasting strength. 2 Chron. xv.. 8. Thou didst rely on the Lord. The foul has a bur den of weakness and ignorance, and therefore refi on him as a Prophet; a burden of guilt, but ref on him as a Prieft, laying the weight on his blood a burden of ftrong lufts and temptations, but reit. on him as a King.
This receiving and refting has a moft fpecial eya to the prieftly office of Chrift, faith in his bioot It is a looking to him as lifted up on the crofs, xlv. 22. eating of his flesh and drinking of h blood, John vi. 53. and fubmitting to his rig.. teoufnefs, Rom. x. 3. * This receiving and refin upon Chrift for falvation is in may places call believing in or trufting on Christ as our Saviour
See the nature and acts of faith more largely opened and luftrated in the author's View of the covenant of grace, head The way of inftating finners perfonally and favingly in the covena
† Now, in order to illuftrate the nature of faith, confidered in or trusting on God, and the way of a finner's jus
ward, Acts xxvi. 18. open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan
Object. How then can God require them of us?
Anf. 1. God gave man this power, and he has loft it by his own fault, Eccl. vii. 29. God hath made man upright; but they have fought out many inventions. If a debtor fquander away his fubftance, the creditor has ftill a right to require what he owes him: fo though man has loft his power to perform, God has not loft his right to require the duty.
2. Men will not believe their own impotency. They will promife, refolve, and delay to believe and repent, as if these duties were in their own power; they will flight the motions of God's Spirit; yea, they are throwing away the remains of natural light and ftrength that have efcaped out of the ruins of the fall. So that God may very juftly require these of them, to convince them, and ftir them up to feek grace.
IV. I proceed to fhew the connection betwixt faith and repentance, and escaping the wrath and curfe of God due to us for fin. Those who believe and repent fhall certainly escape. God has faid it, that they fhall; John v. 24. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that fent me, hath everlafting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is palled from death unto life. Ezek. xviii. 30. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your tranfgreffions; fo iniquity fall not be your ruin. Nay they are got beyond it already, Rom. viii. 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Chrift Jefus. In the moment the finner comes into Chrift, he is no more liable to eternal wrath, nor to the curfe; for he is not under the law, but under grace: and the utmost he is liable to, is fatherly chaftifements, Pfal. lxxxix. 30. 31. 32. 33. Thus faith and repentance have the connection of appointed means
prefcribed by God himself, which, by his bleffing, are rendered fubfervient to this great end, of ob taining falvation. Faith is the hand that receives Chrift and his righteoufnefs, as the all of falvation, John i. 12.; and repentance unto life confifts in that godly forrow for fin, flowing from faith, which is the exercife of all who are concerned about the falvation of their fouls, Jer. 1. 4. 2 Cor. vii. i 1.
V. I fhall now fhew the neceffity of using all the outward means whereby Chrift communicateth to his people the benefits of redemption.
1. God has peremptorily required this, Luke xiii. 24. Strive to enter 'in at the ftrait gate, namely, that we ftrive in the appointed means of grace and falvation. And fo he has particularly enjoined us the confcientious performance of each of them.
2. We have no ground to expect grace or falvation but in the ufe of the means, Prov. viii. 34. Bleffed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. Prov. ii, 3. 4. 5. If thou crieft after knowledge, and lifteft up thy voice for understanding: if thou feek-ft her as filver, and fearcheft for her, as for hid treasures: then fhalt thou understand the fear of the Lord; and find the knowledge of God. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, Rom. x, 17.
3. The neglect of the means is a contempt of the thing. If we would be healed, we would lie at the pool. If not, we fay we care not for cure,
And there is required here, not a careless or merely-fuperficial ufe of the outward means, but a diligent one; that is, an embracing of every opportunity that God in his providence gives us for attending upon them, a careful improvement of them, and a looking earneftly to him for his bleffing upon them, without which they will not contribute to our fpiritual advantage, 1 Cor. iii. 6. 7. Queft. What is our ability in this point? Anf
The ufe of outward means is not beyond our reach. One may, without faving grace, read, hear, pray, and confider his cafe, And by these one may attain the highest pitch of preparation for the grace of God, in legal convictions, fears, forrows for fin, and natural (though not saving) defires of grace. Therefore do what ye can; it may be while ye are doing what ye can, God will do for you what ye cannot do for yourselves, Acts viii.
Queft. Has God promised to fave and convert those who do what is in their power in the use of means? Anf. We dare not say it. But, 1. It is poffible. 2. It is probable *.
I fhall conclude with two inferences.
Inf. 1. Then, as ever ye would escape God's wrath and curfe due to you for fin, repent and believe. Come to Chrift; turn from your fins unto God. There is no fafety otherwise, but this way ye fhall be fafe. No fin of yours will ruin you, if you believe and repent; and nothing will fave you, if ye do not.
2. Be diligent in the ufe of the means of falvation. They are laid before you, while they are by the fovereign difpofal of providence kept up from others. Neglect them not, as ye would not be found to reject the counsel of God against your felves. And fatisfy not yourselves in the bare ufe of them, but feek grace and falvation in them from Jefus Chrift, they being appointed means of grace.
* See all this illuftrated in Human nature in its Fourfold ftate, tate ii. head 3. under the title, Objections answered, edit. 2. P. 207.