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damned and lost without Christ: he thereby commands all men to acknowledge their sins, and their need of Christ, and in effect commands all men to repent, that they may believe in him. And whosoever do refuse to repent of their bygone sins, are guilty of disobedience to this command given to all hearers, but especially to those that are within the visible church: for 6 this is his commandment, “ that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus “ Christ," saith he.
4. That he who obeyeth this commandment hath built his salvation on a solid ground: for, 1st, He hath found the promised Messiah, completely furnished with all perfections unto the perfect execution of the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King; for he is that Christ in whom the man doth believe. 2d, 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 sins. 3d, He that:. obeyeth this command hath built his salvation 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 worslip: "for this " is liis command, (saith he,) that we believe in the name 66 of his Son Jesus Christ.""
5. That he who hath believed on Jesus Christ, though he be freed from the curse 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; which new command from. Christ importeth help to obey the command: unto which command from Christ, the Father addeth his authority and command also ; for “ this is his commando “ment, (saith John,) that we believe on the name of his
. Son Jesus Christ, and love one:another, as he hath coma 6. manded us:" The first part of which command, enjoining belief in him, necessarily implieth love to God, and ; so obedience to the first table; for believing in God, and loving God, are.inseparable; and the second part of the command enjoineth love to our neighbour, (especially to the household 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 :
“ Whosoever, in the sense of his own sinfulness, and “ fear of God's wrath, at the command of God, is fled to “ Jesus Christ, the only remedy of sin and misery, and “ hath engaged his heart to the obedience of the law of “ love, his faith is not presumptuous or dead, but true " and saving faith:
“But I (may the weak believer say,) in the sense of my “ own sinfulness, and fear of God's wrath, am fled to Jesus
Christ, the only remedy of sin and misery, and have en“ gaged my heart to the obedience of the law of love:
• Therefore my faith is not a presumptuous and dead “ faith, but true and såving faith.”
The fourth Warrant and special Motive to believe in Christ, is much assurance of life given, in case men shall obey the command of believing; and a fearful certification of destruction, in case they obey not ; holden forth, John iii. 35.
The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. Ver. 36. 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.
Wherein are holden forth to us these five following doctrines :
1. That the Father is well satisfied 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," saith he; riz. 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 resteth upon him, and maketh him, in this his office, the recep, “tacle 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 flesh) 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 fulness of the Godhead dwelling subis stantially 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 (saith he) hath given all things into “the Son's hand," to wit, for accomplishing his work.
3. Great assurance of life is holden forth to all who shall
heartily receive Christ, and the offer of the covenant of 1
grace and reconciliation through him:" He that believeth “on the Son (saith he) hath everlasting life;" for it is made fast unto him, 1st, In God's purpose and irrevocable decree, as the believer is a man elected to life. 2d, By effectual calling of him unto life by God, who, as he is faithful, so will he do it. 3d, By promise and everlasting covenant, sworn by God, to give the believer strong consolation in life and death, upon immutable grounds. 4th, By a pawn and infeftment under the great seal of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, so oft as the believer shall come to receive the symbols and pledges of life. 5th, In Christ the fountain and head of life, who is entered in possession, as attorney for believers; in whom our life is so laid up, that it cannot be taken away. 6th, By begun possession of spiritual life and regeneration, and a kingdom consisting in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, erected within the believer, as earnest of the full possession of everlasting life.
4. A fearful certification is given, if a man receive not the doctrine concerning righteousness and eternal life to be had by Jesus Christ : 66° He that believeth not the Son, “shall 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 loveth darkness rather than light: and this double wrath shall be fastened and fixed immovably upon him, so long as he remaineth in the condition of misbelief: “ The wrath of God abideth “ on him," saith 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, and findeth himself partly drawn power66 fully to believe in him, by the sight of life in him “and partly driven, by the fear of God's wrath, to adhere “ unto him, may be sure of right and interest to life eternal “ through him:
“ But sinful and unworthy I (may the weak believer say)
do believe the doctrine delivered by the Son of God, s and do feel myself partly drawn powerfully to believe in “ him, by the sight of life in him, and partly driven, by “ the fear of God's wrath, to adhere unto him:
“ Therefore I may be sure of my right ard interest un. “ to eternal life through hiin."
THE EVIDENCES OF TRUE FAITHE
rants to believe. Now, for evidencing of true faith by fruits, these four things are requisite: 1. That the believer be soundly 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 so much the more, as he is delivered by Christ from the covenant of works, and curse 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 obedience run 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 strait 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 Mat. v. 16.
LET your light-so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Ver. 17. Think not 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 shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Ver. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in 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 case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
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 so shine before men, “ (saith he,) that they may see your good works.”
2. He induceth tliem so to do, by shewing, that albeit they be not justified by works, yet spectators of their good works may be eonverted or edified, and so glory may redound to God by their good works, when the witnesses thereof “shall glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
3. He gives them no other rule for their new obedience than the moral law, set down and explicated by Moses and the prophets : “ Think not (saith he) that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets."
4. He gives them to understand, that the doctrine of grace, and freedom from the curse of the law by faith in him, is readily mistaken by men's corrupt judgments, as if it did loose or slaken the obligation of believers to obey the commands, and to be subject to the authority of the law ; and that this error is indeed a destroying of the law and of the prophets, which he will ia no case ever endure in any of his disciples, it is so contrary to the end of his.