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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.
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.
(1st.) That his divine nature is the proper formal object of this faith, on the consideration whereof alone, it is fixed on him. If you 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 which 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.
[1st.] 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.
This faith in the person of Christ is the spring and fountain of our spiritual life. We live by the faith of the Son of God. In and by the actings hereof is it preserved, increased, and strengthened. For he is our life;' Col. ii. 4. and all supplies of it are derived from him by the actings of faith in him. We receive the forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified, by the faith that is in him;' Acts xxvi. 18. Hereby do we abide in him, without which we can do nothing; John xv. 5. Hereby is our peace with God maintained. For he is our peace;' Eph. ii. 14. And in him we have peace according to his promise, John xvi. 33. all strength for the mortification of sin, for the conquest of temptations, all our increase and growth in grace, depend on the constant actings of this faith in him.
The way and method of this faith is that which we have described. A due apprehension of the love of Christ, with the effects of it in his whole mediatory work on our behalf, especially in his giving himself for us, and our redemption, by his blood, is the great motive thereunto. They whose hearts are not deeply affected herewith, can never believe in him in a due manner. I live,' saith the apostle, by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.' Unless a sense hereof be firmly implanted on our souls; unless we are deeply affected with it, our faith in him would be weak and wavering, or rather none at all. The due remembrance of what the blessed Lord Jesus hath done for us; of the ineffable love which was the spring, cause, and fountain of what he so did; thoughts of the mercy, grace, peace, and glory which he hath procured thereby; are the great and unconquerable motives to fix our faith, hope, trust, and confidence in him.
His divine nature is the ground and warranty for our so doing. This is that from whence he is the due and proper object of all divine faith and worship. From the power and virtue thereof do we expect and receive all those things which in our believing on him we seek after; for none but God can bestow them on us, or work them in us. There is in all the actings of our faith on him, the voice of the confession of Thomas, My Lord and my God.'
His divine person wherein he is God and man, wherein he hath that nature which is the formal object of divine
worship, and wherein he wrought all those things which are the motives thereunto, is the object of this faith, which gives its difference and distinction from faith in God in general, and faith in the person of the Father, as the fountain of grace, love, and power.
(2dly.) Faith is acted on Christ under the formal notion of mediator between God and man. So it is expressed, 1 Pet. i. 21. Who by him do believe in God that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.' And this acting of faith towards Christ, is not contrary unto that before described, nor inconsistent with it, though it be distinct from it. To deny the person of Christ to fall under this double consideration, of a divine person absolutely, wherein he is over all, God blessed for ever,' and as manifested in the flesh, exercising the office of mediator between God and man, is to renounce the gospel. And, according unto the variety of these respects, so are the actings of faith various; some on him absolutely, on the motives of his mediation; some on him as mediator only. And how necessary this variety is unto the life, supportment, and comfort of believers, they all know in some measure who are so. See our exposition on Heb. i. 1-3. Sometimes faith considers him as on the throne; sometimes as standing at the right hand of God; sometimes as the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Sometimes his glorious power; sometimes his infinite condescension is their relief.
Wherefore, in the sense now intended, he is considered as the ordinance, as the servant of God who raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory.' So our faith respects not only his person, but all the acts of his office. It is faith in his blood;' Rom iii, 25. It is the will of God, that we should place our faith and trust in him and them, as the only means of our acceptance with him, of all grace and glory from him. This is the proper notion of a mediator. So is he not the ultimate object of our faith, wherein it rests, but God through him. Through him have we an access by one Spirit unto the Father;' Eph. ii. 18. So he is the way whereby we go to God; John xiv. 6. See Heb. x. 19-21. And this also is faith in him, because he is the immediate, though not the ultimate object of it; Acts xxvi. 18.
This is that which renders our faith in God evangelical. The especial nature of it ariseth from our respect unto God in Christ, and through him. And herein faith principally regards Christ in the discharge of his sacerdotal office. For although it is also the principle of all obedience unto him in his other offices, yet as unto fixing our faith in God through him, it is his sacerdotal office and the effects of it, that we rest upon and trust unto. It is through him as the high-priest over the house of God, as he who hath made for us a new and living way into the holy place, that we draw nigh to God; Heb. iv. 14-16. x. 19. 21, 22. 1 John i. 2.
No comfortable refreshing thoughts of God, no warrantable or acceptable boldness in an approach and access unto him, can any one entertain or receive, but in this exercise of faith on Christ as the mediator between God and man. And if in the practice of religion, this regard of faith unto him, this acting of faith on God through him, be not the principle whereby the whole is animated and guided, Christianity is renounced, and the vain cloud of natural religion embraced in the room of it. Not a verbal mention of him, but the real intention of heart to come unto God by him is required of us; and thereinto all expectation of acceptance with God, as unto our persons or duties is resolved.
We have had great endeavours of late by the Socinians to set forth and adorn a natural religion, as if it were sufficient unto all ends of our living unto God. But as most of its pretended ornaments are stolen from the gospel, or are framed in an emanation of light from it, such as nature of itself could not rise unto; so the whole proceeds from a dislike of the mediation of Christ, and even weariness of the profession of faith in him. So is it with the minds of men, who were never affected with supernatural revelations, with the mystery of the gospel, beyond the owning of some notions of truth, who never had experience of its power in the life of God.
But here lies the trial of faith truly-evangelical. Its steady beholding of the sun of righteousness proves it genuine and from above. And let them take heed who find their heart remiss or cold in this exercise of it. When men begin to satisfy themselves with general hopes of mercy in