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of faith? For except the offer be general, the ap. plication of it cannot be particular. Unless I see that a Saviour is offered to me, even unto me, I cannot warrantably receive him to myself. As the lawcommand obliges all without exception to obey, though none either can, or will do that, till they be renewed in the spirit of their mind; so the gospel offer warrants all without exception to receive, rest, or rely on Christ for their salvation, though none either can or will do that, till they be convinced and quickened. Christ is offered that he may be received, as meat is set before us that we may eat, and therefore till we receive him, we do not answer the end of the offer. And as I am an individual among the many to whom he is offered, I must receive and apply him to myself, even to myself, or otherwise perish. Now wherein consists this particular application of an offered Christ? Why? He being offered as a Saviour to me, I take him as such; I take him as my Saviour, even MINE. And to take him for my Saviour, what is that, but to believe that he will save me? So in common speech, to take a man for a thing, is to believe that he will do that thing, as taking a man's bond for a sum of money, is believing that he will pay that sum.
12thly. To believe that we shall be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot but produce the effects of true faith, and therefore it must be faith itself. It will be granted, I suppose, that the efficacy of faith is such that nothing can produce its effects but itself: that it is not here as in nature, where the same effects are often produced by different causes,
The great effects produced by faith are chiefly three, viz. sanctification, consolation, and support. For the first, see Acts xv. 9. Gal. v. 6. Jude 20. For the second, Rom. v. 12. 1 Pet. i. 8. And for the third, Isa. xxviii. 16. 1. 10. Job xiii. 15. compare Matt. xxvii. 46.
Now let us see how natively and necessarily a belief that we shall be saved by grace, produceth these blessed effects. And in the
1st. Place. Such a belief cannot but issue in sanctitication. If we believe that Christ will save us, we cannot but love him, and love to his person will inspire us with ardour to do his will. In proportion as we believe, we will love; and as we love, we will 0. bey. If the first be weak, the second and the third will be so too. If we believe the love of God, the love that he hath to us, 1 John iv. 16. John iii. 16. that will draw out ours toward him. Let me ask, Can a sinner believe that he shall be saved by Christ, and at the same time have no love to him? Or can he hate Any love to Christ, while he does not believe that he shall be saved by him? For my own part, I am satisfied that neither of these can be. And can a poor sinner love a Saviour, and not delight to do his will? No, he cannot. " This is the love of God," i. e. this is love to God,“ that we keep his commandments,” 1 John
Love is the fulfilling of the law, and faith begetteth love. Love is to obedience, what wings are to the eagle, or sails to a ship. If we love, we cannot but obey the beloved Jesus. Add to this, that the belief that we shall be saved by him, is not a belief that we shall be saved from wrath only, but also that according to his name, he will save us from our sins: not merely from their guiit, but also from their power, and at last from their very being. Thus we trust in him for his whole salvation: for its beginning and progress in this life, and for its perfection in that which is to come. Trusting in him for sanctification, as well as for justification, we cannot but be sanctified by such a trust: as he cannot fail them that trust in him. To suppose a soul trusting in him for sanctifi. cation, and still to remain unsanctified, would be to charge him with unfaithfulness. While others would work all out of themselves; believers draw all their holiness from Christ, as the golden bowi in Zechariah's vision had the oil from the two olive trees by means of the two golden pipes, Zech. iv. 12. As it could not be empty, till the trees were drained, or the pipes of communication stopped; so a soul believing in Christ must be holy in proportion to his faith. The more faith the more holiness, and the less faith, the less holiness.
• 2dly. Believing that we shall be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot but produce consolation. As there can be no true joy without such a belief, there cannot but be joy attending it. Can a poor sinner, convinced of sin and misery, believe that through Christ he shall be saved from both, and not rejoice in believing? Impossible. The poor jailor is a striking proof of this. In the verse but one before my text, ye see him trembling: in the verse but two afier it, ye see hiin rejoicing. And how did he rejoice? what was the cause of such a sudden transi. tion? why, he rejoiced, believing in God. So Peter writes to believers, 1st Ep. i. 8. “ Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." Joy thus interwoven with, or springing from faith, is called the joy of faith, Phil. i. 25.
And hence it is made a distinguishing charac. ter of a true believer, chap. iii. 3. We are the circumcision which rejoice in Christ Jesus.
If ever a poor sinner be filled with joy and peace, it must be in believing, Rom. xv. 13. Not simply in believing that Christ is able and willing to save sinners, but able and willing to save him, even him. And here, as in the case of holiness, in whatever proportion we believe that we shall be saved by grace; our comfort, joy, and peace shall be in the same proportion. If that be strong, these shall be high; but if weak, they must be low: the effects always bearing proportion to the cause. However men may quibble, it is a precious gospel truth, that they who have belicvcd do enter into REST, Heb. iv. 3.
If I rest upon Christ alone for my salvation, I cannot but find a blessed rest in him: and that in proportion to the act of resting. This cannot be denied unless one assert that a resting act may be followed with a restless life: which would be absurd, If a poor soul in
resting upon Christ alone for salvation, find no rest in hiin, I would challenge men and angels to tell me how it may? and if the Bible be true, they must all be mute. Í grant that the act of resting upon Christ is subject to very different degrees, and according to these will be the rest which we experience. Nay, the actings of faith may be greatly intermitted, and the poor soul, tossed as in a tempestuous ocean, may, in its own apprehensions be ready to perish. The black waves of temptations, doubts and fears, may rise to a terrible height, and roar dreadfully around it. That faith which was once like a cable rope, may be brought to its last thread, but it shall not be broken! And ter all, the believer is tossed, only like a ship at anchor. Having by faith cast anchor within the vail, Heb. vi. 19. he can no more be tossed as a wave of the sea. Which suggests
The Third precious effect of believing that we shall be saved by grace, and that is, Support. Long as we trust in Christ for his salvation, we are not without support. When evidences are all obscured, when the destroyer has torn them from us, having caught us in his snare, still the foundation of faith remains the same. Though we can see no traces of a work within us, yet we can see a word without us, even the word of faith, warranting all to trust in Christ for their salvation. And O! what a firm support this! Even when we walk in darkness, and have no light, we may still trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon our God. Now believing that we shall be saved by him, is nothing else but trusting in him, or staying on him. While we do so, all hope that we shall be saved is never taken away. For a poor sinner, harrassed with the temptations of the wicked one, still to believe that he shall be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, what else is this but to hold fast his confidence, and not to cast it away? Heb. iii. 6, 14. X. 35. Such a supporting thing is this faith, that the man who has it bears up under the frowns and hidings of a boly God. See Job's heroism in the faith, chap. xiii. 15. Though God slay me, yet will I trust in him. Trust in him for what? when life itself is gone! Why, for something to be given when life is taken away, viz. for salvation, (which by the by is an irrefragable proof that Job believed the life everlasting) compare verse 16. He also shall be my salvation, i.e. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, that he shall be my salvation. I will trust in him that he will save me. What a support this in slippery pla. ces! It makes the man to ride out every storm.
Lastly. To shew that in this our definition of faith we have not affected novelty, but have kept the good old way, we shall adduce the testimonies of a few mar. tyrs, ministers, and churches.
Peter Brulie, burnt at Tournay, anno 1545, when he was sent for out of prison to be examined, the Friars interrogated him before the Magistrate, " How “ it is that faith bringeth unto us salvation?” He an. swered, “ Faith bringeth unto us salvation when we “ trust unto God's promises, and believe stedfastly, that “ for Christ his Son's sake our sins are forgiven us * '
Mr Patrick Hamilton, burnt at St. Andrew's about the year 1527, saith, “ Faith is a sureness: Faith is • a sure confidence of things which are hoped for, and “ a certainty of things which are not seen. The faith " of Christ is to believe in him, that is to believe in his “ word, and to believe that he will help thee in all
thy need, and deliver thee from all evil t."
Our famous Scots apostle, Mr Knox, in order to dis. cover the root of faith, asketh, “ Believest thou that 66 Christ is able to deliver thy soul, and that he will do “ the same, according to his promise 1."
Mr. John Craig, in his Catechism, approven by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the year 1592, having asked Quest. 22d. “ What is faith in Christ?” Answereth,“ A sure persuasion that he is the “ only Saviour of the world, but ours in special, who 66 believe in him g.”
• Boston's Notes on the Marrow, page (Mihi) 162. + Kaox's Hist. p. 11. # Knox's Hist, page (Mili) 577. § Collection of Confessions, page (Mihi) 100