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respect unto his divine person we ask immediately of himself in our supplications; as he is mediator we ask of the Father in his name. The different actings of faith on him, under the same distinction, shall be declared in the next chapter.
The principle of the assignation of divine honour unto the person of Christ,
in both the branches of it; which is faith in him. The principle and spring of this assignation of divine honour unto Christ in both the branches of it, is faith in him. And this hath been the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world since the entrance of sin. There are some who deny that faith in Christ was required from the beginning, or was necessary unto the worship of God, or the justification and salvation of them that did obey him. For whereas it must be granted that without faith it is impossible to please God,' which the apostle proves by instances from the foundation of the world ; Heb. xi. They suppose it is faith in God under the general notion of it, without any respect unto Christ that is intended. It is not my design to contend with any, nor expressly to confute such ungrateful opinions, such pernicious errors. Such this is, which being pursued in its proper tendency, strikes at the very foundation of Christian religion. For it at once deprives us of all contribution of light and truth from the Old Testament. Somewhat I have spoken before of the faith of the saints of old concerning him. I shall now, therefore, only confirm the truth, by some principles which are fundamental in the faith of the gospel.
1. The first promise, Gen. iii. 15. truly called lowtevavyklov, was revealed, proposed, and given, as containing and expressing the only means of delivery from that apostacy from God, with all the effects of it, under which our first parents, and all their posterity were cast by sin. The destruction of Satan and his work in his introduction of the state of sin, by a saviour and deliverer was prepared and provided for in it. This is the very foundation of the faith
of the church, and if it be denied, nothing of the economy or dispensation of God towards it from the beginning can be understood. The whole doctrine and story of the Old Testament must be rejected as useless, and no foundation be left in the truth of God, for the introduction of the New.
2. It was the person of Christ, his incarnation and mediation, that were promised under the name of the seed of the woman,' and the work he should do in breaking the head of the serpent,' with the way whereby he should do it, in sufsering, by his power. The accomplishment hereof was in God's sending his Son in the likeness of sinful fesh, in the fulness of time, made under the law, or by his manifestation in the flesh, to destroy the works of the devil. So is this promise interpreted, Gal. iii. 10. iv. 4. Heb. ii. 14–16. 1 John iii. 8. This cannot be denied but upon one of these two grounds.
(1.) That nothing is intended in that divine revelation, but only a natural enmity that is between mankind and serpents. But this is so foolish an imagination, that the Jews themselves, who constantly refer this place to the Messiah, are not guilty of. All the whole truth concerning God's displeasure on the sin of our first parents, with what concerneth the nature and consequence of that sin, is everted hereby. And whereas the foundation of all God's future dealing with them and their posterity is plainly expressed herein, it is turned into that which is ludicrous, and of very little concernment in human life. For such is the enmity between mankind and serpents, which not one in a million know any thing of, or are troubled with. This is but to lay the axe of atheism unto all religion built on divine revelation. Besides, on this supposition there is in the words not the least intimation of any relief, that God tendered unto our parents for their delivery from the state and condition whereinto they had cast themselves by their sin and apostacy. Wherefore they must be esteemed to be left absolutely under the curse, as the angels were that fell, which is to root all religion out of the world. For amongst them who are absolutely under the curse without any remedy, there can be no more than is in hell. Or,
(2.) It must be, because some other way of deliverance and salvation, and not that by Christ, is here proposed and promised. But whereas they were to be wrought by the ‘seed of the woman,' if this were not that Christ in whom we do believe, there was another promised, and he is to be rejected. And this is fairly at once to blot out the whole Scripture as a fable. For there is not a line of doctrinal truth in it, but what depends on the traduction of Christ from this first promise.
3. This promise was confirmed, and the way of the deliverance of the church by virtue of it declared in the institution of expiatory sacrifices. God in them and by them declared from the beginning, that 'without shedding of blood there was no remission ;' that atonement for sin was to be made by substitution and satisfaction. With respect unto them, the Lord Christ was called the Lamb of God,' even as he took away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of himself; John i. 29. For we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;' 1 Pet. i. 19. Wherein the Holy Spirit refers unto the institution and nature of sacrifices from the beginning. And he is thence represented in heaven as a ' lamb that had been slain ; Rev.iv. 6. the glory of heaven arising from the fruits and effects of his sacrifice. And because of the representation thereof in all the former sacrifices, is he said to be a' lamb slain from the foundation of the world;' Rev. xiii. 8. And it is strange to me that any who deny not the expiatory sacrifice of Christ, should doubt whether the original of these sacrifices were of divine institution or the invention of men. And it is so amongst others for the reasons ensuing
(1.) On the supposition that they were of men's finding out, and voluntary observation, without any previous divine revelation, it must be granted that the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world, was laid in, and resolved into, the wisdom and wills of men, and not into the wisdom, authority, and will of God. For that the great solemnity of religion, which was as the centre and testimony of all its other duties, did consist in these sacrifices even before the giving of the law, will not be denied. And in the giving of the law, God did not on this supposition confirm and establish his own institutions with additions unto them of the same kind, but set his seal and approbation unio the inventions of men. But this is contrary unto natural light, and the whole current of Scripture revelations.
(2.) All expiatory sacrifices were from the beginning, types and representations of the sacrifice of Christ, whereon all their use, efficacy, and benefit among men, all their acceptance with God, did depend. Remove this consideration from them, and they were as irrational a service, as unbecoming the divine nature, as any thing that reasonable creatures could fix upon. They are to this day, as reasonable a service as ever they were, but that only their respect unto the sacrifice of Christ is taken from them. And what person of any ordinary understanding, could now suppose them a meet service whereby to glorify the divine nature. Besides, all expiatory sacrifices were of the same nature, and of the same use, both before and after the giving of the law. But that all those afterward were typical of the sacrifice of Christ, the apostle demonstrates at large in his Epistle unto the Hebrews. The inquiry therefore is, whether this blessed prefiguration of the Lord Christ and his sacrifice, as he was the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world, was an effect of the wisdom, goodness, and will of God, or of the wills and inventions of men. And let it be considered also, that these men who are supposed to be the authors of this wonderful representation of the Lord Christ and his sacrifice, did indeed know little of them, or as the asserters of this opinion imagine nothing at all. To suppose that those who knew no more of Christ than they could learn from the first promise, which, as some think was nothing at all, should of their own heads find out and appoint this divine service, which consisted only in the prefiguration of him and his sacrifice, and that God should not only approve of it, but allow it as the principal means for the establishment and exercise of the faith of all believers for four thousand years, is to indulge unto thoughts deviating from all rules of sobriety. He that sees not a divine wisdom in this institution, hath scarce seriously exercised his thoughts about it. But I have elsewhere considered the causes and original of these sacrifices, and shall not therefore farther insist upon them.
4. Our first parents and all their holy posterity did believe this promise, or did embrace it as the only way and means of their deliverance from the curse and state of sin,
and were thereon justified before God. I confess we have not infallible assurance of any who did so in particular,
but those who are mentioned by name in Scripture, as Abel, Enoch, Noah, and some others. But to question it concerning others also, as of our first parents themselves, is foolish and impious. This is done by the Socinians, to promote another design, namely, that none were justified before God on the belief of the first promise, but on their walking according to the light of nature and their obedience unto some especial revelations about temporal things; the vanity whereof hath been before discovered. Wherefore, our first parents and their posterity.did so believe the first promise, or they must be supposed, either to have been kept under the curse, or else to have had, and to make use of, some other way of deliverance from it. To imagine the first isimpious; for the apostle affirms that they had this 'testimony that they pleased God ;' Heb.xi.5. which under the curse none can do ; for that is God's displeasure. And in the same place he confirms their faith, and justification thereon, with a cloud of witnesses ;' chap. xii. 2. To affirm the latter is groundless. And it includes a supposal of the relinquishment of the wisdom, grace, and authority of God in that divine revelation, for men to betake themselves to none knows what. For that there was in this promise the way expressed which God in his wisdom and grace had provided for their deliverance, we have proved before. To forsake this way, and to betake themselves unto any other, whereof he had made no mention or revelation unto them, was to reject his authority and grace.
As for those who are otherwise minded, it is incumbent on them directly to prove these three things.
(1.) That there is another way, that there are other means for the justification and salvation of sinners, than that revealed, declared, and proposed in that first promise. And when this is done, they must shew to what end on that supposition the promise itself was given, seeing the end of it is evacuated.
(2.) That upon a supposition that God had revealed in the promise the way and means of our deliverance from the curse and state of sin, it was lawful unto inen to forsake it, and to betake themselves unto another way, without any su