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make that our end, which we did love; so that it is the first loved for itself, and then made our end. Now if Christ be not used as a means to God, as our ultimate end, then he is not believed in, or used as Christ, and therefore it is no true faith : and that which hath not the true end, is not the true act or grace in question, nor can that be any special grace at all, which hath not God for his ultimate end: on both which accounts, it can be no true faith : the 'intentio finis,' being before the choice or use of means, though the assecution be after.

And yet on the other side, if God be loved as our end, before we believe in Christ as the means, then we are sanctified before we believe. And then faith in Christ is not the means of our first special love to God. And the consequents on both parts are intolerable; and how are they to be avoided ?

Consider here, 1. You must distinguish betwixt the assenting or knowing act of faith, and the consenting or choosing act of it in the will. 2. And between Christ as he is a means of God's choosing and using, and as he is a means of our choosing and using. And so I answer the case in these propositions.

1. The knowledge of a Deity is supposed before the knowledge of Christ as a Mediator: for no man can believe that he is a teacher sent from God, nor a Mediator between us and God, nor a sacrifice to appease God's wrath, who doth not believe first that there is a God.

2. In this belief or knowledge of God, is contained the knowledge of his essential power, wisdom and goodness, and that he is our Creator and Governor, and that we have broken his laws, and that we are obnoxious to his justice, and deserve punishment for our sins. All this is to be known before we believe in Christ as the Mediator.

3. Yet where Christianity is the religion of the country, it is Christ himself by his word and ministers, who teacheth us these things concerning God; but it is not Christ as a means chosen or used by us, to bring us to the love of God; (for no man can choose or use a means for an end not yet known or intended :) but it is Christ as a means chosen and used by God, to bring home sinners to himself: (even as his dying for us on the cross was.)


4. The soul that knoweth all this concerning God, cannot yet love him savingly, both because he wanteth the Spirit to effect it, and because a holy sin-hating God, engaged in justice to damn the sinner, is not such an object, as a guilty soul can love: but it must be a loving and reconciled God that is willing to forgive.

5. When Christ by his word and ministers hath taught a sinner both what God is in himself, and what he is to us, and what we have deserved, and what our case is; and then hath taught him, what he himself is as to his person and his office, and what he hath done to reconcile us to God, and how far God is reconciled hereupon, and what a common conditional pardoning covenant, he hath made and offereth to all, and what he will be and do to those that do come in, the belief of all this seriously (by the assenting act of the understanding) is the first part of saving faith, going in nature before both the love of God, and the consenting act of the will to the Redeemer. (And yet perhaps the same acts of faith in an ineffectual superficial measure, may go along before this in many.)

6. In this assent our belief in God, and in the Mediator, are conjunct in time and nature; they being relatives here as the objects of our faith. It is not possible to believe in Christ as the Mediator, who hath propitiated God to us, before we believe that God is propitiated by the Mediator;

vice versâ :' indeed there is a difference in order of dignity and desirableness; God as propitiated being represented to us as the end, and the Propitiator, but as the means : but as to the order of our apprehension or believing, there can be no difference at all, no more than in the order of knowing the father, and the son, the husband and wife, the king and subjects: these relatives are simul naturà et tempore.'

7. This assenting act of faith, by which at once we believe Christ to be the Propitiator, and God to be propitiated by him, is not the belief that my sins are actually pardoned, and my soul actually reconciled and justified; but it includeth the belief of the history of Christ's satisfaction, and of the common conditional covenant of promise and offer from God, viz. that God is so far reconciled by the Mediator, as that he will forgive, and justify, and glorify all that repent and believe, that is, that return to God by faith in

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Christ; and offereth his mercy to all, and entreateth them to accept it, and will condemn none of them but those that finally reject it. “ All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ

; reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and hath committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us : we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God;" 2 Cor. v. 18—20. So that it is at once the belief of the Father as reconciled, and the Son as the Reconciler, and that according to the tenor of the common conditional covenant, which is the first assenting part of saving faith.

8. This same covenant which revealeth God as thus far reconciled by Christ, doth offer him to be further actually and fully reconciled, and to justify and glorify us, that is, to forgive, accept, and love us perfectly for ever. And it offereth us Christ to be our actual Head and Mediator, to procure and give us all this mercy, by communicating the benefits which he hath purchased according to covenantterms : so that as before the Father and the Son were revealed to our assent together; so here they are offered to the will together.

9. In this offer, God is offered as the end, and Christ as Mediator is offered as the means; therefore the act of the will to God, which is here required, is simple love of complacency (with subjection, which is a consent to obey), but the act of the will to Christ, is called choice or consent, though there be in it ‘amor medii,' the love of that means for its aptitude as to the end.

10. This love of God as the end and consent to Christ as the means, being not acts of the intellect, but of the will, cannot be the first acts of faith, but do presuppose the first assenting acts.

11. But the assenting act of faith, doth cause these acts of the will to God and the Mediator. Because we believe the truth and goodness, we consent and love.

'12. Both these acts of the will are caused by assent at one time, without the least distance.

13. But here is a difference in order of nature, because we will God as the end, and for himself, and therefore first



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in the natural order of intention; and we will Christ as the means for that end, and therefore but secondarily. Though in the intellects, apprehension and assent, there be no such difference; because in the truth, which is the understanding's object, there is no difference, but only in the goodness which is the will's object: and as goodness itself is apprehended by the understanding, ‘ut verè bonum,' there is only an objective difference of dignity.

14. Therefore as the Gospel revelation cometh to us in a way of offer, promise and covenant, so our faith must act in a way of acceptance and covenanting with God and the Redeemer and Sanctifier. And the sacrament of baptism is the solemnizing of this covenant on both parts. And till our hearts do consent to the baptismal covenant of grace, we are not believers in a saving sense.

15. There is no distance of time between the assent of faith, and the first true degree of love and consent : (though au unsound assent may go long before ; yet sound assent doth immediately produce love and consent;) and though a clear and full resolved degree of consent may be some time afterward : and therefore the soul may not at the first degree so well understand itself, as to be ready for an open covenanting.

16. This being the true order of the work of faith and love, the case now lieth plain before those that can observe things distinctly, and take not up with confused knowledge (and no other are fit to meddle with such cases); viz, that the knowing or assenting acts of faith in God as reconciled (so far) and in Christ as the Reconciler, so far as to give out the offer or covenant of grace, are both at once, and both


before the acts of the will, as the cause before the immediate effect; and that this assent first in order of nature (but at once in time) causeth, the will to love God as our end, and to consent to, and choose Christ in heart .covenant as the means, and so in our covenant we give up ourselves to both : and that this repentance and love to God, which are both one work called conversion, or turning from the creature to God, the one as denominated from the 'terminus à quo,’ (viz. repentance) the other from the 'terminus ad quem, (viz, love) are twisted at once with true saving faith. And that Christ as the means used by God is our first Teacher, and bringeth us to assent: and then that


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assent bringeth us to take God for our end, and Christ for the means of our actual justification and glory; so that Christ is not by faith chosen and used by us under the notion of a Mediator or means to our first act of love and consent; but is a means to that of the Father's choosing only ; but is in that first consent chosen by us for the standing means of our justification and glory, and of all our following exercise and increase of love to God, and our sanctification; so that it is only the assenting act of faith, and not the electing act, which is the efficient cause of our very first act of love to God, and of our first degree of sanctification; and thus it is that faith is called the seed and mother grace: but it is not that saving faith which is our Christianity, and the condition of justification and of glory, till it come up to a covenant-consent of heart, and take in the aforesaid acts of repentance and love to God as our God and ultimate end.

The observations of many written mistakes about the order of the work of grace, and the ill and contentious consequents that have followed them, hath made me think that this true and accurate decision of this case is not unuseful or unnecessary.

Direct. 12. • The Holy Ghost so far concurred with the eternal word, in our redemption, that he was the perfecting Operator, in the conception, the holiness, the miracles, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.'

Of his conception it is said, “ For that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost ;” Matt. i. 20. And ver. 18. “She was found with child of the Holy Ghost." And of his holy perfection, as it is said, that “he increased in wisdom and stature, and favour with God and men;" Luke ii. 52. (meaning those positive perfections of his human nature which were to grow up with nature itself, and not the supply of any culpable or privative defects) so when he was baptized, the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him; Luke ini. 22. And Luke iv. i. it is said, “ Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost," &c. “ And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; the Spirit of wisdom and understanding; the Spirit of counsel and might; the Spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord, and shall make him quick of understanding in the fear of the Lord,” &c.; Isa. xi. 2. “ For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him ;" John iii. 34. · After that he through the

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