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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. ii. 16. 18. 36. vi. 29. 35. 41. vii. 38, 39. Acts xiv. 23. xvi. 31. xix. 4. xxiv. 24. xxvi. 18. Rom. iij. 26. ix. 33. x. 11. 1 Pet. ii. 6. 1 John v. 10. 13. There is not one of these but sufficiently confirms the truth. Some 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.
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 bim 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.
Ist. 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 beljeve 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 in vain.
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 bis dame, 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. [lst.] 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.
For by reason of the mutual inbeing of the divine persons, in the unity of the same nature, the object of all spiritual worship is undivided. Hence are those expressions of the Scriptures ; 'He that hath seen the Son, hath seen the Father; he that honoureth the Son, honoureth the Father, for he and the Father are one.'
And to clear our present design, three things may be observed from hence, namely, that the divine nature, with all its essential properties, is the formal reason, and only ground of divine faith. As,
1st. That the Lord Christ is not the absolute and ultimate object of our faith, any otherwise but under this consideration, of his being partaker of the nature of God, of his being in the form of God, and equal unto him. Without this, to place our faith in him would be robbery and sacrilege; as is all the pretended faith of them, who believe not his divine person,
2dly. There is no derogation from the honour and glory of the Father, not the least diversion of any one signal act of duty from him, nor from the Holy Spirit, by the especial actings of faith on the person of Christ. For all divine honour is given solely unto the divine nature. And this being absolutely the same in each person, in the honouring of one, they are all equally honoured. He that honoureth the Son, he therein honoureth the Father also.
3dly. Hence it appears what is that especial acting of faith on the person of Christ which we intend, and which in the Scripture is given in charge unto us, as indispensably necessary unto our salvation. And there are three things to be considered in it.
(lst.) That his divine nature is the proper formal object of this faith, on the consideration whereof alone, it is fixed
ask a reason why I believe on the Son of God; if you intend what cause I have for it, what motives unto it, I shall answer, it is because of what he hath done for me, whereof afterward ; so doth the apostle, Gal. ii. 20. But if you intend, what is the formal reason, ground, and warranty whereon I thus believe in him, or place my trust and confidence in him, I say it is only this, that he is ‘over all God blessed for ever;' and were he not so, I could not believe in him. For to believe in any, is to expect from him that to be done for me, which none but God can do.
(2dly.) That the entire person of Christ as God and man, is the immediate object of our faith herein. The divine nature is the reason of it; but his divine person is the object of it. In placing our faith on him, we consider him as God and man in one and the same person. We believe in him because he is God; but we believe in him as he is God and man in one person.
And this consideration of the person of Christ, namely, as he is God and man, in our acting of faith on him, is that wbich renders it peculiar, and limits or determines it unto his person, because he only is so; the Father is not, nor the Holy Spirit. That faith which hath the person of God and man for its object, is peculiarly and distinctly placed on Christ.
(3dly.) The motives unto this distinct acting of faith on his person, are always to be considered, as those also which render this faith peculiar. For the things which Christ hath done for us, which are the motives of our faith in him, were peculiar unto him alone, as in the place before quoted, Gal. ii. 20. Such are all the works of his mediation, with all the fruits of them whereof we are made partakers. So God, in the first command, wherein he requires all faith, love, and obedience from the church, enforced it with the consideration of a signal benefit which it had received, and therein a type of all spiritual and eternal mercies, Exod. xx. 23. Hence two things are evident which clearly state this matter.
[lst.] That faith which we place upon, and the honour which we give thereby unto the person of Christ, is equally placed on, and honour equally given thereby unto the other persons of the Father and the Holy Spirit, with respect unto that nature which is the formal reason and cause of it. But it is peculiarly fixed on Christ, with respect unto his person as God and man, and the motives unto it, in the acts and benefits of his mediation.
[2dly.] All of Christ is considered and glorified in this acting.of faith on him. His divine nature, as the formal cause of it; his divine entire person God and man, as its proper object; and the benefits of his mediation, as the especial motives thereunto.