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manifestly revealed and required in the gospel, or under the New Testament, than it was under the Old. See Eph. iii. 8-11. The respect of faith now unto Christ, is that which renders it truly evangelical. To belive in him, to believe on his name, is that signal especial duty which is now required of us.
Wherefore the ground of the actual assignation of divine honour unto the person of Christ in both branches of it, adoration and invocation, is faith in him. So he said unto the blind man whose eyes he opened, 'Believest thou on the Son of God?' John ix. 35. And he said, ' Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him ;' ver. 38. All divine worship or adoration, is a consequent effect and fruit of faith. So also is invocation; for 'How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?' Rom. x. 14. Him, in whom we believe, we ought to adore and invocate. For these are the principal ways whereby divine faith doth act itself. And so to adore or invocate any, in whom we ought not to believe is idolatry.
This faith therefore on the person of Christ is our duty. Yea, such a duty it is, as that our eternal condition doth more peculiarly depend on the performance or nonperformance of it, than on any other duty whatever. For constantly under those terms is it prescribed unto us. 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him ;' John iii. 36. Wherefore the nature and exercise of this faith must be inquired into.
[1.] There is a faith which is exercised towards those by whom the mind and will of God is revealed. So it is said of the Israelites, they believed the Lord and Moses,' Exod. xiv. 33. that is, that he was sent of God, was no deceiver, that it was the word and will of God which he revealed unto them. So 2 Chron. xx. 20. Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.' It was not the persons of the prophets, but their message that was the object of the faith required. It was to believe what they said, as from God, not to believe in them as if they were God. So is it explained by the apostle, Acts xxvi. 27. 'King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.' He believed that they were
sent of God, and that the word they spake was from him; otherwise, there was no believing of them who were dead so many ages before.
And this is all the faith in Christ himself which some will allow. To believe in Christ, they say, is only to believe the doctrine of the gospel revealed by him. Hence they deny that any could believe in him, before his coming into the world, and the declaration of the mind of God in the gospel made by him. An assent unto the truth of the gospel as revealed by Christ, is with them the whole of that faith in Christ Jesus which is required of us.
Of all that poison which at this day is diffused in the minds of men corrupting them from the mystery of the gospel, there is no part that is more pernicious than this one perverse imagination, that to believe in Christ is nothing at all but to believe the doctrine of the gospel, which yet we grant is included therein. For as it allows the consideration of no office in him, but that of a prophet, and that not as vested and exercised in his divine person, so it utterly overthrows the whole foundation of the relation of the church unto him, and salvation by him.
That which suits my present design, is to evince that it is the person of Christ which is the first and principal object of that faith wherewith we are required to believe in him; and that so to do, is not only to assent unto the truth of the doctrine revealed by him, but also to place our trust and confidence in him, for mercy, relief, and protection; for righteousness, life, and salvation; for a blessed resurrection and eternal reward. This I shall first manifest from some few of those multiplied testimonies, wherein this truth is declared, and whereby it is confirmed, as also with some arguments taken from them, and then proceed to declare the ground, nature, and exercise of this faith itself.
1st. As unto the testimonies confirming this truth, it must be observed of them all in general, that wherever faith is required towards our Lord Jesus Christ, it is still called believing in him,' or 'on his name,' according as faith in God absolutely is every where expressed. If no more be intended but only the belief of the doctrine revealed by him; then whose doctrine soever we are obliged to believe, we may be rightly said to believe in them, or to believe on their
name. For instance; we are obliged to believe the doctrine of Paul the apostle, the revelations made by him, and that on the hazard of our eternal welfare, by the unbelieving of them yet, that we should be said to believe in Paul, is that which he did utterly detest; 1 Cor. i. 13. 15.
For the places themselves the reader may consult among others, John i. 12. iii. 16. 18. 36. vi. 29. 35. 41. vii. 38, 39. Acts xiv. 23. xvi. 31. xix. 4. xxiv. 24. xxvi. 18. Rom. iii. 26. ix. 33. x. 11. 1 Pet. ii. 6. 1 John v. 10. 13. not one of these but sufficiently confirms the truth. few others not named may be briefly insisted on.
John xiv. 1. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.' The distinction made between God and him, limits the name of God unto the person of the Father. Faith is required in them both, and that distinctly; 'Ye believe in God, believe also in me.' And it is the same faith, of the same kind, to be exercised in the same way and manner, that is required, as is plain in the words. They will not admit of a double faith, of one faith in God, and of another in Christ, or of a distinct way of their exercise.
Wherefore, as faith divine is fixed on, and terminated in, the person of the Father; so is it likewise distinctly in and on the person of the Son; and it was to evidence his divine nature unto them which is the ground and reason of their faith, that he gave his command unto his disciples. This he farther testifies, ver. 9-11. And as unto the exercise of this faith, it respected the relief of their souls under troubles, fears, and disconsolations. Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.' To believe in him unto the relief of our souls against troubles, is not to assent merely unto the doctrine of the gospel, but also to place our trust and confidence in him, for such supplies of grace, for such an exercise of the acts of divine power, as whereby we may be supported and delivered. And we have herein the whole of what we plead. Divine faith acted distinctly in, and terminated on, the person of Christ; and that with respect unto supplies of grace and mercy from him in a way of divine power.
So he speaks unto Martha, John xi. 25-27. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. VOL. XII.
Believest thou this?' whereunto she answers, 'Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.' His person was the object of her faith, and her belief in him comprised a trust for all spiritual and eternal mercies.
I shall add one more wherein not only the thing itself, but the especial ground and reason of it is declared; Gal. ii. 20. The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.' That faith he asserts which is the cause of our spiritual life; that life unto God, which we lead in the flesh, or whilst we are in the body not yet admitted unto sight and enjoyment. Of this faith the Son of God is both the author and the object, the latter whereof is here principally intended. And this is evident from the reason and motive of it, which are expressed. This faith I live by, am in the continual exercise of, because he loved me, and gave himself for me.' For this is that which doth powerfully influence our hearts to fix our faith in him and on him. And that person who so loved us, is the same in whom we do believe. If his person was the seat of his own love, it is the object of our faith. And this faith is not only our duty, but our life. He that hath it not, is dead in the sight of God.
But I hope it is not yet necessary to multiply testimonies to prove it our duty to believe in Jesus Christ; that is, to believe in the person of the Son of God; for other faith in Christ there is none, yet I shall add one or two considerations in the confirmation of it.
1st. There is no more necessary hereunto, namely, to prove the person of Christ the Son of God to be the proper and distinct object of faith divine, than what we have already demonstrated concerning the solemn invocation of him. For, saith the apostle, How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?' Rom. x. 14. It holds on either side. We cannot, we ought not to call on him in whom we do not, we ought not to believe. And in whom we do believe, on him we ought to call. Wherefore, if it be our duty to call on the name of Christ, it is our duty to believe in the person of Christ. And if to believe in Christ be no more but to believe the doctrine of the gospel which he hath revealed; then every one, whose doctrine we are obliged to believe, on them we ought to call also. And
on this ground we may call on the names of the prophets and apostles, as well as on the name of Jesus Christ, and be saved thereby. But whereas invocation or prayer proceedeth from faith, and that prayer is for mercy, grace, life, and eternal salvation; faith must be fixed on the person so called on as able to give them all unto us, or that prayer is
2dly. Again, that we are baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, and that distinctly with the Father, is a sufficient evidence of the necessity of faith in his person. For we are therein given up unto universal spiritual subjection of soul unto him, and dependance on him. Not to believe in him, on his name, that is, his person, when we are so given up unto him, or baptized into him, is virtually to renounce him. But to put a present close unto this contest. Faith in Christ is that grace whereby the church is united unto him, incorporated into one mystical body with him. It is thereby that he dwells in them, and they in him. By this alone are all supplies of grace derived from him unto the whole body. Deny his person to be the proper and immediate object of this faith, and all these things are utterly overthrown; that is, the whole spiritual life and eternal salvation of the church.
This faith in the person Christ, which is the foundation of all that divine honour in sacred adoration and invocation which is assigned unto him, may be considered two ways. (1st.) As it respects his person absolutely. (2dly.) As he is considered in the discharge of the office of mediation.
(1st.) In the first sense faith is placed absolutely and ultimately on the person of Christ, even as on the person of the Father. He counts it no robbery herein to be equal with the Father. And the reason hereof is because the divine nature itself is the proper and immediate object of this faith and all the acts of it. This being one and the same in the person of the Father and of the Son, as also of the Holy Spirit, two things do follow thereon. [1st.] That each person is equally the object of our faith, because equally participant of that nature which is the formal reason and object of it. [2dly.] It follows also, that in acting faith on, and ascribing therewithal divine honour unto, any one person, the other are not excluded, yea, they are included therein.