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blessings and promises of it, and their interest in them, Psal. xxv. 14. what is said of Christ the head of the covenant, is true of all the covenant-ones in their measure, Mal. ii. 5. to which may be added, that the Lord grants the requests and fulfils the desires of them that fear him, hears their cries and saves them. -7. They are remembered by him with the favour he bears to his own people, with his tender mercies and loving kindness, which have been ever of old; he remembers them when in a low estate, and brings them out of it; he remembers his promises to them, and fulfils them; a book of remembrance is said to be written before him, for them that feared the Lord, Mal. iii. 16.-8. It is promised to them that fear the name of the Lord, that unto them the Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings. Christ the Saviour shall come and shew himself with a discovery and application of pardoning grace and mercy; nay, one that fears the Lord, though he walks in darkness and hath no light, yet he is encouraged to trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God, Isai. 1. 10.
9. Salvation, a fresh view of interest in it, a renewed application of it, as well as the full enjoyment of it, is nigh them that fear the Lord, Psal. lxxxv. 9. for that is nearer to them than when they first believed, and had the fear of God first implanted in them, and were set a seeking after it, and had first hope of interest in it.-10. Great and good things are laid up for such persons in the heart of God, in the covenant of grace, and in the hands of Christ, and in heaven; even a blessed hope, a crown of righteousness, and things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard of, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive of; O how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! Psal. xxxi. 19.
OF FAITH IN GOD AND IN CHRIST.
FAITH is another branch of inward experimental religion and godliness, for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and of internal worship, and without which external worship cannot be performed in a manner acceptable to God, for without faith it is impossible to please him: there is no drawing nigh to God in any part of worship without it; if a man prays to God he must ask in faith, nothing doubting; for it is the prayer of faith that is availing and saving; if a man hears the gospel, unless the word is mixed with faith by them that hear it, it is not profitable; and both a profession of faith and the exercise of it, are necessary to a due subjection to the ordinances of the gospel. As to baptism, if thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest, said Philip to the enuch desiling baptism; and so for the ordinance of the supper, a previous examination whether a man has faith, and the exercise of it, are requisite to eating of it; and without this a man cannot discern the Lord's body, nor answer the ends and design of that ordinance; concerning which may be observed,
I. The kind of faith to be treated of; for faith is a word of different use and signification, and there are divers kinds of faith. 1. It sometimes signifies the veracity and faithfulness of God; as when the apostle says, Shall their unbelief · make the faith of God without effect? Rom. iii. 3, 4. yea faith sometimes signifies veracity and fidelity among men, and is no other than a virtue belonging to the moral law, and is one of the weightier matters of it, Matt. xxii. 23.-2. It is sometimes used for the doctrine of the gospel, the word of faith, which the apostle preached, though he once destroyed it as much as in him lay, Gal. i. 23. and is the faith once delivered to the saints, which they should earnestly contend for, and build up one another in, Jude 3, 20. so called, because it contains. things to be believed upon the credit and testimony of God; and because it dito the great object of faith in salvation, the Lord Jesus Chtist; and because it is the means of ingenerating and increasing faith in men, for faith, comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, Rom. x. 8, 17.3. There is a divine and an human faith; a divine faith proceeds upon a divine testimony,, upon the authority and veracity of God the testifier; an human faith proceeds upon the testimony of man, and upon the authenticity and truth of the witness. hore by him; concerning both which the apostle John says, If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, by how much the greater is his veracity and faithfulness; for this is the witness of God, which he hath testified of his Son, 1 John v. 9. namely, that life and salvation are in him and by him; and to believe this witness, and to receive it within a man's self, is what is commonly called saving faith. 4. There is a faith of miracles which proceeds upon a revelation some way or other made by God to a man, which he believes; either that a miracle should be wrought by him, or should be wrought for him, for his benefit and advantage; of the former sort, and which is called faith in God, Mark xi. 22, 23. the apostle is to be understood, when he says, Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, 1 Cor. xiii. 2. of the latter sort was the faith of the centurion, of the woman having an issue, of Jairus, and of the Canaanitish woman, and of the lame man at Lystra. The one is called active, the other passive faith; and this faith of miracles, in the first times of the gos-pel, was common to good and bad men, to the true disciples of Christ, Matt. x. t. Mark. xvi. 17-20. and to Judas, and to false teachers, Matt. x. 1, 4. and vii. 22, 23.5. There is what is called an historical faith, not because it is only giving credit to the historical part of the scripture, which is to be believed as well as other parts; nor because the scripture is read, and attention paid to it only as a common history or human testimony; for men, with this faith, be lieve it to be a divine testimony, and regard it as such; it may rather be called a theoretic faith, a speculative one, receiving all things in the theory but reducing nothing to practice; or a bare naked assent to the truth of what is contained in the word concerning God and Christ, and divine things; it is a faith common to good men and bad men; it must be and is where true faith is, and there can
be no true faith without it; but if a man stops here and goes no further, it falls short of spiritual, special faith, or the faith of God's elect, and is no other than the faith of devils, and of bad men. 6. There is also a temporary faith, which continues only for a time, in some persons, as in the stony-ground hearers, Whe for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away, Luke viii. 13. this sort of faith differs from the former, in that it is not a mere assent to truth, but it is attended with affection, joy, and gladness, as in Herod, who heard John gladly and did many outward things, and in those the apostle speaks of, who tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, Heb. vi. 5. all of a natural and superficial kind, arising from a principle of self-love, and from the noveltv, harmony, and connection of truths, and from a false presumptuous hope of future happiness in consequence of their assent unto them; and so is different likewise from the faith of devils, who believe and tremble, but have no joy; and it differs also from true faith, because it is without the root of grace in the heart, and is loseable, is only for a time, for when trouble and persecution arise because of the word, such who have it, drop their profession of it; whereas where there is true faith, such do not draw back, but continue to believe to the saving of the soul. - 7. There is a special faith, which is peculiar to God's elect, and is by some called saving faith, though strictly speaking salvation is not in faith, nor in any other grace, nor in any duty, only in Christ; there is no other name but his under heaven, whereby we must be saved; he only is the author of eternal salvation; and yet there are some things in scripture which seem to countenance such a phrase; as when Christ said to the woman who repented of her sins, and had the forgiveness of them, loved Christ, and believed in him, Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace, Luke vii. 50. unless the object of faith should be meant; and certain it is that salvation is promised to faith, and connected with it, He that believes shall be saved, and is what faith issues in; true believers receive the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.
II. The objects of it, and acts of it on those objects. The objects of it are not bare axioms or propositions; for, the act of the believer does not terminate at an axiom but at the thing; for axioms are not formed, but that by them knowledge may be had of things; the principal term to which the act of a believer tends in the thing itself, which is chiefly regarded in the axiom; and so promises are not to be considered as objects unless in a tropical and metonymical sense, being put for the things promised; so the Old Testament-saints, not having received the promises, the things promised, but having seen them afar off, that is, by faith, were persuaded of them, and embraced them, Heb. xi. 12. nor even the benefits of Christ, or the blessings of his grace, no otherwise than as they are the end faith has in view in receiving him; he is viewed and dealt with as the object of faith in order to enjoy the good things which come by him: or they ma be considered as motives encouraging to acts of faith on him, and are the fruits and effects of it received thereby from him. The proper and formal
object of faith is twofold, God and Christ; God as the first primary and ultimate object of faith, and Christ as mediator is the mediate object of it, Ye believe in God, believe also in me, John xiv. 1.
God is the principal object of faith, which act of faith on him is not barely to believe there is a God, and but one; which is credere Deum, and which the devils theinselves believe; nor is it merely to believe whatever he delivers in his word, as prophecies, promises, doctrines, &c. this is credere Den, to give credit to God, believe what he says; but crelere in Deum, by believing to cleave to God, lean upon him, and acquiesce in him as our all-sufficient life and salvation, Deut. xxx. 20. and so it is not merely to believe there are three persons in the Godhead, but to go forth in acts of faith and confidence on them, in things relative to our welfare and happiness here and hereafter.
1. On God the Father, Ye believe in God, that is, in God the Father, the God of Israel, as distinct from Christ, for it follows, in my Father's house are many mansions, John xiv. 1, 2. and so our Lord further says, He that believeth on me, that is, not on him only, nor does his faith stop and terminate there, but on him that sent me, that is, on the Father of Christ, John xii. 44. and it is also observed, that Christ was raised from the dead and had glory given him, that the faith and hope of his people might be in God, in God his Father, who rais
1. On him as the creator, though not only on him as such; so runs the first article in the creed commonly called the apostles creed, "I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth;" to believe the creation of all things out of nothing by the word, even out of things which did not appear, is an act of that faith in God which is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen, Heb. xi. 1. 3. besides, a true believer in God fetches arguments to strengthen his faith in God, for relief, help, support, and supply from him with respect to things spiritual, as well as temporal, from his being the maker and creator of all things; My help, says David, cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth, Psal. cxxi. 1, 2. and it is a special act of faith, believers are directed to under sufferings, to commit the keeping of their souls to God in we.l-doing, as unto a faithful creator, 1 Pet. iv. 19. and so likewise on him as the preserver and saviour of men, for he is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe; and therefore saints put their trust in him, the living God, Tim. iv. 10. 2. Faith is exercised on God the Father as having loved his people in Christ before the foundation of the world; that the Father, as distinct from Christ has loved his people with a free, sovereign, unchangeable, and everlasting love, is certain; Now God, even our Father, which hath loved us, &c. 2 Thess. ii. 16. of which they may be most comfortably assured, and may most firmly believe; by his appearing to them as he did to his church of old, saying I have loved thee, with an everlasting love; by his spitit witness ing it to their spirits, and by shedding it abroad in their hearts, and giving them some feeling sensations of it, so as to comprehend with other saints, the heighth
and depth, the length and breadth of it; by remembering to them his former loving kindness, the favour he bears to his own people; and by acts of love done in eternity, as choosing them in Christ, &c. and by giving him for them in time, and by commending his love towards them through Christ's dying for them, while they were yet sinners; and by quickening them by his Spirit and grace when dead in trespasses and sins, and all because of the great love wherewith he hath loved them; and by drawing them with loving-kindness to himself, as well as by his word and oath, the two inmutable things in which he cannot lie. So that there is good and sufficient reason for the acting and exercise of faith, on the everlasting love of the Father; and what a strong act and expression of faith is that of the apostle with respect unto it; I am persuaded, I firmly believe it, that nothing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? Rom. viii. 38, 39. this is to be rooted and grounded in love, 3. Faith is exercised on God the Father, as having chosen his people in Christ to grace and glory from the beginning, from everlasting, before the world began, Eph. i. 3, 4. this is the act of the Father of Christ, Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, 1 Pet. i. 2. and this elec tion of God is to be known by the gospel coming not in word only but in power, by being effectually called, for whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and by their having the faith of God's elect, for as many as were ordained to eternal life believed, Acts xiii. 48. wherefore this may be most firmly believed, as it was by the apostle Paul, both with respect to himself and others, for which he blessed God, and gave thanks to him, and our Lord exhorts and encourages his disciples to rejoice because their names were written in heaven, Luke x. 20. which supposes knowledge of it, and faith in it. 4. God, as the covenant-God of his people, is the object of their faith; the covenant runs thus, I will be their God, and they shall be my people; and this is made to appear in effectual calling, when they who were not the people of God, not known to be so, are openly such; then it is God makes good his promise,, I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God, Zech. xiii. 9. and so may every believer say, and be assured, that this God is their God, and will be their God and guide unto death, for covenant-interest always continues; it was a noble act of faith in the sweet singer of Israel a little before his death, Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 5. God, as he is the Father of Christ, so he is the Father of all that believe in him; I ascend, says Christ, to my father and your father, John xx. 17. So God, in the covenant of his grace, has declared himself, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, and as such faith is to be exercised on him with joy and wonder, saying Behold, what manner of love the Father hath beetowed upon us, that we should be called the sons ef God, 1 John iii. 1. of the truth of which the leadings and witnessings of the Spirit are an evident proof, from whence he is called the Spirit of adoption; for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, off of themselves to Christ, and by