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and full of glory." The language of faith is, (Psal. xlvi. at the beginning,) "God is our refuge and strength: and, therefore, though the mountains should be removed, yet there is a river, the streams whereof do make glad the city of God."
8. It is by faith that we are recovered after falls into sin. Many a time the devil, the world, temptation, and corruption, so far prevail against the believer, as to trip up his heels: "The righteous man falleth seven times a day." Now, in such a case, what is it that recovers him? It is faith: Though I fall, I shall arise," says faith; "for the Lord upholdeth me with his hand." Oh, sirs, if you let faith go, when you fall into sin, you cannot miss to fall into the bottom; just like a man climbing up a ladder, if his foot slip, and he quit the gripe of his hand also, what can hinder him from falling down to the ground? When Christ foresaw that Peter would sin by denying him, what said he? "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." As if he had said, I plainly see that thou wilt deny me in the hour of temptation; but I have prayed that thy faith may not fail, and this is the thing that will recover thee. Oh, sirs, when you fall into any sin, study to renew the acts of faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; according to that advice of the apostle, 1 John ii. 1, 2: "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father." As if he had said, The only way for a fallen saint to recover himself, is by faith to go to Christ as the great Advocate and Propitiation.
9. I might tell you, farther, that faith is, as it were, the mother-grace, the radical grace, on which all the other graces of the Spirit depend. If faith be lively, so will all the other graces be; if faith be languid and faint, so will all the other graces be. If faith be set at work, it will work by love, that celestial fire will burn, the fountain of holy sorrow will flow; "They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn;" the foot of obedience will be active to run "the way of God's commandments."
10. Faith carries the soul on high, above time and time's enjoyments; it "mounts up with wings as eagles." It carries the soul to mount Nebo and Pisgah, and gives the soul a view of the goodly mountain, even Lebanon; and then the believer is like the "woman clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet."
To conclude, as it is by faith that you must live, so it is by faith you must die, and shoot the gulf comfortably. It is said of the worthies, Heb. xi. " All these died in faith." Faith as it were lays its head in Christ's bosom, and says, with a holy confidence," Into thy hand, O Lord, I commend my spirit." Faith, leaning on the staff of the divine promise, can say
with David, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff shall comfort me," Psal. xxiii. 4.
A second question that may be moved for clearing this exhortation is, What is it in Christ that faith lives and leans upon, in its passage through the wilderness?
Answ. Christ is such a suitable good, that there is no case the soul can be into in its wilderness-condition, but faith will always find something corresponding to its necessity in him. Is the soul in darkness? He is "the Son of Righteousness, the bright and Morning Star." Is the soul in danger? He is "a shield, a hiding-place, and refuge." Is the soul in trouble? He is a rest to the weary, he is "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" he is bread to the hungry, drink to the thirsty soul. But, more particularly, there are these things following in Christ, that faith lives upon in the wilderness, and which it finds like marrow and fatness to the soul.
1. Faith lives and leans upon the name of Christ; for "his name is a strong tower, into which the righteous flee, and are safe" hence we are so frequently exhorted to trust in the name of the Lord." O, he has a great name, and a pleasant name, a name above every name, and at his name every knee shall bow." Whenever a believer engages with work, he is to do it in the name of the Lord; "Whatsoever ye do in word or in deed," says the apostle, " do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, to the glory of God by him." And whenever we go a warfare against sin, Satan, or the world, we are to do it in his name; otherwise we can never prosper. This was the way of the church: "We will be joyful in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. Whenever we go to God in prayer, we are to present our persons and petitions in the name of Christ: "Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name, he will do it." Oh, sirs, the name of Christ works wonders, when it is managed in a way of believing. When the disciples or apostles went forth and preached the gospel among the nations, they went forth in the name of JESUS; and when they wrought miracles, they did it in the name of JESUS CHRIST: Acts iii.: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk,” said Peter and John to the cripple-man; and presently he arose. God is so delighted with the name of Christ, that for the sake of that name he will do any thing to us or for us. And therefore let us live by faith, and lean upon his name, as we come up out of the wilderness.
2. Faith lives upon the flesh of Christ, that is, upon the human nature as it stands personally united to the divine: My flesh is meat indeed." You know, Israel in their tra
vels through the wilderness to Canaan, which was a shadow or type of our travels through this world to glory, lived upon the manna that was rained from heaven upon the camp. But, O sirs, that was but a shadow of the true bread of life, an incarnate God, that we present to you in this gospel, John vi. 32: My Father giveth you the true bread which is from heaven." And again, says Christ, in that same chapter, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." This seems to be a hard saying to a blind carnal world, and they are ready to think or say, with these Jews, John vi. 52: "How can this man give us his flesh to cat?" But whatever you may think of it, the flesh of Christ, or his human nature, as it stands united to the divine in the person of the Son, when taken up by faith in the light of the word and Spirit, is the sweetest meal and banquet to a believer in heaven or earth: no meat or drink like it to a poor perishing soul: and a believer, in travelling through the wildnerness, is always taking a look of an incarnate. Deity; and thus he is enlightened, strengthened, quickened, and comforted. O, sirs, what think you of this food? I am sure if ever you tasted of it, you will be ready to say, it is like "wines on the lees well refined, and fat things full of marrow."
3. Faith lives in the wilderness, not only on the flesh of Christ, or the mysteries of his incarnation, but upon the blood of Christ; by which I understand his satisfaction, which is frequently in scripture expressed by his blood: "Behold the blood of the covenant;" that is, the satisfaction or death of Christ, that whereby the covenant is confirmed. This is drink indeed to the believer, in passing through the wilderness; let the believer get a draught of this red wine of the blood of the slain Lamb of God, he is able to go forth like a giant, or a strong man, to encounter all the powers of hell. Rev. xii. 11, it is said of the saints in their wars with the devil, that "they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb," that is, by faith's improvement of the death and satisfaction of Christ. Let faith be but set a-work upon the death and blood of Christ, it can look himself in the face with an undaunted boldness, without fear of danger, or without fear of being rejected: "Having, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near, in full assurance of faith," &c. Let faith act on the blood of Christ, it can go to God in prayer, and ask any thing that lies within the compass of the whole testament of Christ; for whatever is in the testament, is the purchase of his blood. O, will faith say, give me peace, give me pardon, give me light, life,
strength, grace, or glory, give me the Spirit; for here is the blood of the Lamb that bought it. Let faith be acted on this blood, and the man dare, with courage, comfort, and joy, look death, eternity, and a tribunal, in the face: Why? Because faith sees the curse of the law abolished, death unstinged, the grave vanquished, and a tribunal sprinkled by the blood of Jesus. The gates of glory are opened to receive the soul that is sprinkled by the hyssop of faith dipped in the blood of the Lamb.
4. Faith lives in the wilderness upon the life of Christ: "Because I live, ye shall live also.-I live," says Paul; "yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;" and then follows," The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." Faith's way is to follow Christ from his birth to his cross, from his cross to his grave, and from his grave to his life again; and then it cries in a way of triumph, He who was dead is now alive, and lives for evermore: I know that my Redeemer liveth;" and he lives as my head, my representative, my husband, my advocate, my king, my priest, my prophet, and my all and in all. O, sirs, the resurrection of Christ unto life, never to die any more, is a sweet and pleasant banquet in the wilderness, by which we are "begotten again unto a lively hope of the inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled."
5. Faith lives upon the advocacy and intercession of Christ: "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who makes intercession for the transgressors." And O how sweetly does the soul feed here by faith: O, will the soul say, I may be condemned by the world, or by the law, or by conscience; yet I know that I shall carry the day in the court of heaven, because my Advocate is the Lamb in the midst of the throne: he never lost a cause; he has the Father's ear; he has such interest and moyen in heaven, that all power in heaven is his, and his will is a law in the higher court. "Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am," &c.
6. Faith lives upon the word of Christ as it comes up from the wilderness. Christ has passed his word in his testament, and he has it sealed with his blood, and he lives as the executor of his testament: and I know, will faith be ready to say, that the Spirit of Christ will take all that is in his testament, and show it unto me, and show it so as to make all the testament and latter-will effectual: and therefore in his word do I hope; his promise is not yea and nay, but it is always yea and amen in him. Oh when faith gets the word of promise, the confirmed testament of Christ in its hand, how will it go to God, and crave the fulfilling of the latter-will of his own Son,
saying with David, "Remember the word upon which thou hast caused me to hope!"
7. Faith lives and leans on the righteousness of Christ, particularly in the matter of justification and acceptance; it casts away all the works of the law like dung and loss, saying, "Surely in the Lord have I righteousness and strength."
8. Faith leans on the fulness of Christ, and says, "Out of his fulness do all we receive, and grace for grace:" My wants are great, I am just made up of wants; but O, what wants will not the all-fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Christ supply for he fills all in all. What is my poor empty vessel to that ocean that is in him? I will go with confidence, for that fulness is in him for my use; for "he received gifts for men, even for the rebellious."
9. Faith lives on the offices of Christ, his general offices as Mediator and Redeemer, and his particular offices as Prophet, Priest, and King. Oh, will faith say, no man taketh an office upon him, but with a design to execute the duties of his office. Will any man pretend to be a magistrate, a minister, an advocate, or judge, and yet live in the neglect, or refuse to discharge the duties of such an office? the world would look on him as very unfaithful: and shall we imagine such a thing of Christ, who is "faithful in all his house?" Oh, will faith say, he is a Mediator and Peace-maker; and therefore I trust that he will make my peace with the offended Majesty of Heaven. He is a Saviour and Redeemer; and therefore I trust he will deliver me from the hands of all my enemies; he will save from sin, because it is his office to "finish transgression and make an end of it." He is a Prophet; and therefore I will trust that he will teach me the good and perfect will of God, open the secrets of his covenant, the mysteries of his kingdom, unto me. He is a Priest, and the great High Priest of our profession now, under the New Testament; and therefore he will, by the great sacrifice of atonement, purge away my sins, and make my person and duties acceptable unto God. He is a King; and therefore he will subdue corruptions, and sanctify me throughout, in soul, body, and spirit. He is a Shepherd; and therefore I trust he will feed me, and lead me in his pastures, and I shall not want. He is a Physician, his name is JEHOVAH ROPHI; and therefore I trust he will heal all my diseases, he will open my blind eyes, he will cure the obstinacy of my will, the hardness of my heart, the carnality of my affections. He is the Captain of salvation, who "leads many sons unto glory;" and therefore I trust he will fight all my battles, and make me a conqueror, &c. Thus, I say, faith comes up from the wilderness, lean