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to look for that grace, but rather the contrary; as Paul says of himself, Cbrift came to save finners, of whom I am chief. If his acceptance with God should go upon any terms which he must fulfil, he finds himself as much without strength to fulfil them, as Abraham found himself for becoming a father when his body was now dead. In a word, he views himself in that fame point of light wherein the Divine mercy held men in sending the Son of God to die for them, and wherein his death respected them, 1. e. as finners and enemies to God; as ungodly, and without Arength, and so he works not to make himself righteous, but, seeing all his works against the hope of his juftification, prays, as the Publican, Be propitious to me, a fnner. For, in believing or giving credit to the testimony of the gospel concerning the resurrection of the Son of God, who, when we were yet without Arength, in due time died for the ungodly, and rose again for their justification, he finds good ground for the hope of being justified by that revealed righteousness which is unto all and upon all them that believe, without difference. He sees good ground to hope for the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. So his hope of being justified is against his feeling and experience; but it is according to his faith. For there is glorious ground of hope in that which he believes. And so he walks in this step of Abraham's faith, believing in hope against kope.
4. There was such a certainty in Abraham's faith, such a firm persuasion of that which was spoken, that no objection could stand in his mind against the truth of it, and no room was left there for a thought of the poflibility of its being
false. He had need to be very certain, that what was spoken was the word of God, and so assent to it as his testimony, for whom it is impossible to lie: for he believed God; he gave credit to him, who calleth those things that be not as though they were. And such was his confidence in this word of God, that the confideration of his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, and of the deadness of Sarah's womb, was not able to shake it. His faith did not admit this to consideration as an objection against the word of God. So he Raggered not at the promise of God through unbelief,
-being fully perfuaded, that what he had promised, he was able to perform.
And such a certainty there is in the faith of Abraham's children believing on him that justifieth the ungodly; as we may fee from such texts as these. Which are most surely believed among
We believe and are fure.— I have given to them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didft send me. --Faith is the confidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.- We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the begin.. ning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. Our gospel-came unto you—in much affurance.-re received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which effe&tually worketh
that believe. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himfelf.:- -Let us draw near-in full assurance of faith. ---But let him afle in faith nothing wavering.
The faith of miracles was a type or sign of the faith that is to the saving of the soul, even as the miracles were signs of that eternal salvation which is by faith. And we see that faith always opposed to doubting.
He that believes on him that justifies the ungodly, cannot be doubting of that which he hears God saying. And the consideration of his own unfitness to be justified, even the impoffibility of his being justified in the natural way, cannot make him stagger at the word of God; cannot shake his persuasion, that God who raised Christ from the dead, for the justification of finners, is able to make him, a finner, bleffed by the imputation of righteousness without works. For he looks on the word of God which he believes, as of the fame power with that by which the worlds were framed, calling the things that be not as though they were, even as did Abraham. And so the faith of God's word has a certainty in it, that philosophy cannot boast of.
5. Abraham gave glory to God, when he believed in hope against hope, according to what was: spoken, and was strong in faith.
If he could have contributed any thing toward the making good of that which was spoken; he had then something to glory in before another not so fit as he. But when it was quite otherwife, he gave God the whole glory of that which he believed God alone was able to per.. form. His faith glorified him as God who raises the dead, and calls those things that be not as though they were..
Even so, when we work not to make ourselves just, but believe on him that raised Jefus for the justification of the ungodly, we give him the whole glory of our justification, as not pretend
ing to contribute any thing toward it ourselves, but acknowledging him who distinguishes himself as God, and manifests his glory in this justification.
A finner that studies to be made fitter than another for being justified, cannot be believing the sufficiency of Christ's righteousness to justify him, nor glorifying God who justifies the ungodly by that righteousness. He that would work to make himself righteous, must suppose to himself a God that will not punish every transgression, nor curse every one that continues not in all things commanded. He must suppose to himself a God that will justify by an imperfect righteousness; and fo loves not righteousness nor hates iniquity as God, but as he would pretend to do himself. But he that believes on him who raised Jesus from the dead for the justification of finners, respects him as God, shewing the infinite opposition of his goodness unto ali iniquity in the death of Christ delivered for the offences of finners, and shewing his love to righteousness, as juftifying by a perfect righteousness, in raising him from the dead; even that righteousness which the Son of God finished on the cross : and so not being ignorant of the righteousness of God, he goes not about to establish his own righteousness, but glorifies the name of the righteous Father, whom the world knew not, as that name is manifested by Jesus Christ.
Again, the finner that works to make himself juft, must suppose to himself a God that has no mercy to the worthless and miserable (the only proper objects of mercy) nor any grace to manifest but unto those who differ from others by fome excelling qualifications. He must suppose to himself a God who cannot shew mercy to
whom he will, but according to those differences: whereby finners may glory over one another, faying as the Pharisee, God, I thank thee that I am not as other men, or as this publican, But he that believes him who raised Christ for the justification of finners, acknowledges the glory of the divine mercy and grace sending the Son of God, fnbstituting him in the room of the ungodly to whom God. would shew mercy, delivering him for their offences, and raising him for their justification, without respect to any difference wherein one man can find himself excelled by another. This is to fhew mercy like God. Justification is by faith that it might be by this grace. And he that works not, but believes to be justified by grace freely through the redemption that is in Christ's blood, gives God the glory of his mercy, saying as the publican, God be propitious to me a finner. And the stronger he is in this faith, the more he glorifies God, as did Abraham:
Thus we have feen the steps of Abraham's faith, wherein they walk who believe in Christ för righteousness. And we may be encouraged to walk in them by thefe words of the propher, Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord :- look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Surah that bare you ; for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the Lord will comfort Zion : he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her defert.like the garden of the Lord.