Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

" the redeemed should be imputed to innocent Christ, and he both • condemned aod put to death for them, upon this very condition, « that wholvever heartily contents unto the covenant of reconciliation « offered through Christ, hall, by the imputation of his obedience “ unto them, be just fied and holden righteous before God; for God " hath made Chrift;" who knew no sin, to be fin for us, faith the • apoftle, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.'

Hence may a weak believer strengthen his faith, by reasoning from this ground after this manner ;

“ He that, upon the loving request of God and Chrift, made to him “- by the mouth of minifters (having commiffion to that effect) bath “ embraced the offer of perpetual reconciliation through Christ, and “ doth purpose, by God's grace, as a reconciled person, to strive 2

gaioft fin, and to serve God to his power constantly, may be as sure “to have righteousness and eternal life given to him, for the obedience

of Christ imputed to him, as it is sure that Christ was condemned “ and put to death for the fins of the redeemed imputed to him.

" But I (may the weak believer say) upon the loving request of « God and Christ, made to me by the mouth of his ministers, have “ embraced the offer of perpetual reconciliation through Chrift, and “ do purpose, by God's grace, as a reconciled person, to strive against “ fin, and to serve God to my power constantly,

“ Therefore I may be as lure to have righteousness and eternal life

given to me, for the obedience of Christ imputed to me, as it is “ Jure that Christ was condemned and put to death for the fios of the “ redeemed imputed to him.”

The third warrant and special motive to believe in Christ, is the strait

and awful command of God, chargiog all the hearers of the gospel to approach to Christ, in the order set down by him, and to believe

in him; holden forsh, 1 John iï. 23. THIS is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as be

gave us his commandment.

Wherein the apostle giveth us to understand these five doctrines ;

1. That if any man shall not be taken with the sweet iavitation of God, nor with the humble and loving request of God, made to him to be reconciled, he shall find he hath to do with the sovereign authority of the highest Majesty; for this is his commandment, that we believe in him,' faith he.

2 That if any man look upon this commandment, as he hath looked heretofore upon the neglected commandments of the law; he must consider that this is a command of the gospel, posterior to the law, gi

en for making use of the remedy of all fins; which, if it be disobeyed, there is no o her command to follow but this, “Go, ye cursed, isto the everlasting fire of hell: For this is his commandment,' the obedience of which is most pleasant in his fight, ver. 22. and without which it is impoffible to please him. Heb. xi 6.

3. That every one, who heareth the gospel, must make conscience of the duty of lively faith in Christ : the weak believer must not think it presumption to do what is commanded. The perfon inclined to delperation must take up himtelf, and thiok upon obedience unto this Tweet and saving command The strong believer must dip yet more in the fense of the need he bath of Jesus Christ, and more and more grow in the obedience of this command; yea, the most impenitent

, profane and wicked person must not thruit out himself, or be thruf out by others, from orderly aiming at this duty, how desperate foever his condition seem to be ; for he that commands all men to believe in Christ, doth thereby command all men to believe that they are damoed and lost without Christ: be thereby commands all men to acknow ledge their fins and their need of Christ, and in effect commands all men to repent, that they may believe in him. And whosoever do re fufe to repent of their bygone lips, are guilty of disobedience to this command given to all hearers, but especially to these that are within the visible church :'For this is his commandment, that we should be • lieve on the name of his Son Jesus Christ,' faith be.

4. That he who obeyeth this commandment, hath built his falvati. on a folid ground, For, first, He hath found the promised Messiah, compleatly furnished with all perfections upto the perfect execution of the offices of prophet, priest, and king; for he is that Chrift, in whom the man doth believe. 2. He hath embraced a Saviour, who is able to save to the uttermost, yea, and who doth effectually save, every one that cometh to God through him ; for he is Jesus, the true Saviour of his people from their fias. 3. He that obeyeth this command

, hath built his falvation on the Rock, that is, on the Son of God, to whom it is no robbery to be called equal to the Father, and who is worthy to be the object of saving faith, and of spiritual worship: • this is his command, faith he,

'that we believe in the name of his • Son Jesus Christ'

5. That he who hath believed on Jesus Christ (though he be freed from the curie of the law) is not freed from the command and obedience of the law, but tied thereunto by a new.obligation, and a new command from Christ: wirich new command from Christ importeth help to obey the command ; uoto which command from Christ, the Faiher addeth his authority and command also; • For this is his com * mandment (faith John) that we believe on the name of his Son Jelas • Chrift, and love one another, as he hath commanded us.' The first part of which command, injoining belief in him, decessarily implieth love to God, and fo obedience to the first table ; for believing in God, and

for

Toving

[ocr errors]

loving God, are inseparable, and the lecond part of the command injoinerh love to our Deighbour, (especially to the houshold of faith) and so obedience to the second table of the law.

Hence may a weak believer strengthen himself, by reasoning from this ground after this manner;

" Wholoever in the sense of his own sinfulness and fear of God's « wrath, at the command of God, is Aed to Jesus Christ, the only “ reinedy of sin and misery, and hath engaged his heart to the obedi

ence of the law of love, his faith is not presumptuous or dead, but " true and saving faith.

“ But I (may the weak believer fay) in the sease of my own lipful“ nets, and fear of God's wrath, am fled to Jefus Christ, the only “ remedy of fin and misery, and have engaged my heart to the obedi.

enee of the law of love.

“ Therefore my faith is not a prelumptuous and dead faith, but “ true and saviog faith.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The fourth warrant and special motive to believe in Chii?, is much

assurance of life given, in cale meo fall obey the command of be-
lieving; and a fearful certification of destruction, in case they obey

not; holden forth, John iii. 35.
THE Father loveth the Son, and bath given all things into

his hand. Ver. 36. He that believeth on the Son, bath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not Jee life, but the wrath of God abideth on bim.

Wherein are holden forth to us these five following doctrines ;

1. That the Father is well fatisfied with the undertakings of the Son, entered Redeemer and Surety to pay the ransom of believers, and to perfect them in holiness and salvation. The Father loveth the Son, faith he: viz. as he standeth Mediator in our name, undertaking to perfect our redemption in all points : The Father loveth him, that is, doth heartily accept his offer to do the work, and is well pleased with him; his soul delighteth in him, and refteth upon him, and maketh him, in this his office, the Receptacle of love and grace and good-will, to be conveyed by him to believers in him.

2. That, for fulfilling of the covenant of redemption, the Father hath given to the Son (as he standeth in the capacity of the Mediator, or as he is God incarnate, the Word made flech) all authority in heaven and earth, all furniture of the riches of grace, and of spirit and life, with all power and ability, which the union of the divine nature with the human, or which the fuloess of the Godhead dwelling fubftantially in his human nature, or which the indivisible all-sufficiency and omnipotency of the inseparable, every where present Trinity doth import, or the work of redemption can require; The Father (faith he)

buth

kath given all things into his Son's band, to wit, for accomplifing his work.

3. Great assuraoce of life is holden forth to all, who shall heartily receive Christ, and the offer of the covenant of grace and reconciliati

. on through him : He that believeth on the Son (faith he) hath everlas. ing life; for it is made fast unto him, 1. Io God's purpose and irresocable decree, as the believer is a man elected to life.

2. By effectual calling of him unto life by God, who, as he is faithful, so will he do it. 3. By promile and everlasting covenant, sworn by God, to give the believer strong consolation in life and death, upon immutable grounds. 4. By a pawn and infeftment under the great feal of the facrament of the Lord's supper, fo oft as the believer shall come to receive the symbols and pledges of life. 5. Io Christ the Fountain and Head of life, who is entered in poffeffion, as attorney for believers; in whom our life is fo laid up, that it cannot be taken away. 6. By begun possession of spiritual life and regeneration, and a kingdom conlifting in righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Ghoft, erected within the believer, as earnest of the fall poffeffion of everlasting life.

4. A fearful certification is given, if a map receive not the doctrine concerning righteousness and eternal life to be had by Jelus Chrift; He that believes not the Son, ball not see life, that is, not so much as understand what it meaneth,

5. He further certifieth, that, if a man receive not the doctrine of the Son of God, he shall be burdened twice with the wrath of God; once as a born rebel by nature, he shall bear the curse of the law, or the covenant of works; and next he shall endure a greater condemnation, in respect that light being come into the world, and offered to him, he hath rejected it, and loved darkness rather than light: and this double wrath shall be fastened and fixed immoveably upon him, so long as he remaineth in the condition of misbelief ; The wrath of Cal abideth on him, faith he.

Hence may the weak believer strengthen his faith, by reasoning from this ground after this manner;

"°Whosoever believeth the doctrine delivered by the Son of God, si and findeth himle{f partly drawn powerfully to believe in him, by

the fight of life in him, and partly driven, by tbe fear of God's wrath, to adhere unto him, may be fure of right and interest to “ lite eternal through him.

“ But sinful and unworthy I (may the weak believer fay) do believe “the doctrine delivered by the Son of God, and do feel myself partly drawn, powerfully to believe in him, by the fight of life in him; “ and partly driven, by the fear of God's wrath, to adhere unto him.

Therelore I may be sure of my right and interest onto eternal “ life through him.”

The

The EVIDENCES of true Faith.

[ocr errors]

S.

o much for the laying the grounds of faith, and warrants to be

lieve. Now, for evidencing of true faith by fruits, these four things are requisite; 1. That the believer be foundly convinced in his judgment, of his obligation to keep the whole moral law, all the days of his life ; and that not the less, but fo much the more, as he is delivered by Christ from the covenant of works, and curle of the law. 2. That he endeavour to grow in the exercise and daily practice of godliness and righteousness. 3. That the course of his new obcdience ruo in the right channel, that is, through faith in Christ, and through a good conscience, to all the duties of love towards God and man, 4. That he keep Itrait communion with the Fountain Christ Jesus, from whom grace must run along, for furnishing of good fruits.

For the first, viz. To convince the believer, in his judgment, of

his obligation to keep the moral law, among many passages, take Matth. V. 16.

[ocr errors]

ET your light so shine before men, that they may fee your good L

works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Ver. 17. Think oot that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Ver. 18. For verily I say unto you,

till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle Mall in no • wife pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Ver. 19. Whosoever

therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall s teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven : but • whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be calledig • the kingdom of heaven. Ver. 20. For I say unto you, That except.

your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and •

Pharisees, ye shall in no caie enter into the kingdom of heaven.'

great in

Wherein our Lord,

1. Giveth commandment to believers, justified by faith, to give evidence of the grace of God in them, before men, by doing good works; Let your light po fine before men (faith he) that they may fee your good works.

2. He induceth them so to do, by Mewing, that albeit they be not justified by works, yet spectators of their good works may be converted or edified; and to glory may redound to God by their good works, when the witnesses thereof full giorify your Father which is in heaven.

3. He gives them no other rule for their new obedience than the moral law, fet down and explicated by Moles and the prophets; Think not (faith he) that I am come to destroy the law and the propheis.

« PreviousContinue »