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the soldier with courage to follow him through all imaginable danger.
3dly, Faith sees all fulness of grace treasured up in Christ, the head of the mystical body, for the supply of every particular member according to need; and then the man cries out with courage, as Paul did, "I can do all things through Christ strengthening me." He becomes "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
4thly, Faith sees a reconciled God in Christ smiling on the soul, and standing on its side; and this gives courage. "The Lord of hosts is with us, and the God of Jacob is our refuge." O sirs, a God in Christ is not a God against us, but "Immanuel, God' with us;" and this makes the soul to cry, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.
5thly, Faith, keeping its eye on Christ, sees victory secured in the end of the day; yea, it sees the victory already obtained in him, it sees the spoils of the enemy in his hand, and him triumphing over, and treading upon his enemies as his foot-stool: and this, O this, fills the soul with holy courage, saying, "We are more than conquerors, through him that loved us: Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Thus you see whence it is that faith inspires the soul with courage and boldness. Many other things to this purpose might be insisted upon, but I pass them, and go on to,
V. The fifth thing, which was the Application.
Use first may be of Information, only in two words.
1. See hence the excellency of the grace of faith. Why, it is a bold, a daring, and courageous grace; hence commonly opposed to fear: "Why art thou fearful, O thou of little faith?" Faith pulls up the heart and spirit in a time of danger, and cries, Courage, for the day is mine own; I see the Captain of salvation, who was made perfect through suffering, with the spoils of hell and death in his hand.
2. See hence the evil and danger of the sin of unbelief. Why, it intimidates the soul, and gives birth and being to a dastardly and cowardly spirit, and either makes a man to stagger, or else turn back and cry, The way is impassable. Hence the fearful and unbelieving are linked together, Rev. xxi. 8. O sirs, except we believe, we shall never be established in an evil day. Moses, you heard, "endured, as seeing Him who is invisible."
Use second shall be of Trial. Whether have you a faith that will carry you through, and inspire you with courage in an evil day? I will give the few following marks by which you may try it :
1. It is a faith that springs out of the ruin of self. Whenever faith springs up, self goes down; self-wisdom, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency. You have seen your own wisdom to be but folly: "I am more brutish than any man,” &c. Self-righteousness, you have seen it to be nothing but filthy rags, saying, with the apostle, "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ." Self-sufficiency and strength, you have seen it to be emptiness, saying, “ În me dwelleth no good thing."
2. It is a Christ exalting faith, it sets him on high: “To you that believe, he is precious." "Whom have I in heaven but thee.".
3. It is a feeding and soul-nourishing faith; it eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of man. Christ in the word. of grace is like its necessary food; hence it is that the Christian is a growing creature, he "increases with the increase of God;" like a "new-born babe," he drinks in the "sincere milk of the word," and so "grows thereby."
4. It is a faith that works by love. It views the glory of Christ, and the heart follows the eye, and causes it to burn. with love to him, and desire after him, And this love to Christ makes the man to love every thing that pertains to him. He loves his word, and esteems it above gold; yea, much fine gold." He loves his ordinances, where he gets fellowship with him: "I love the habitation of thy house, where thine honour dwelleth." "How amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord. God of hosts.!" He loves his ways:" Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." He. loves his people, and all that have the Spirit of Jesus: "By this we know that we are passed from death unto life, be-. cause we love the brethren." He loves the very cross of Christ above the pleasures of the world, like Moses, who "esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than, all the treasures of Egypt."
5. It is a fertile or a fruitful faith, that is always exciting. the man to the study of holiness in all manner of conversation. It is an obedient and a working faith; for "faith without works is dead." As works without faith are but "dead works," which cannot be accepted by the living God;" so. faith without works is but a dead faith, which will soon with-. er, and come to naught, particularly in a day of trial, like the faith of the stony-ground hearers.
Use third is of Exhortation. And my only exhortation is, that you would not only believe, but study to have a faith that will inspire you with that courage which actuated David. in the text, when he said, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." And, to,
excite your Christian fortitude and courage, consider, by way of motive,
1. That the day we live in requires it. The winds and tide of error and defection are blowing, and running hard; the judicatories of the church are stricken with such a spiritual frenzy and madness, that instead of acting in an agreableness to the trust committed to them by the Lord, in opposing error and corruption, they are patronising and setting up the right hands of the wicked, and opposing and oppressing all that have any show of serious godliness, or that open a mouth against the courses of defection they are engaged in. And who knows but a storm may be at the door, which will make us all to stagger? And therefore I say it is needful.
2. Consider, that Christ was bold and courageous in our cause; and shall not we be bold and courageous in his cause? See with what courage he takes the field, Is. 1. &c.
3. Christ, the Captain of our salvation, commands and requires his followers to take courage, and to be bold in him. He would have us to be strong, and of good courage, as he said to Joshua: "Stand fast in the faith, quit yourselves like men; and be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." When their spirits are beginning to droop, he says, "Fear not them that kill the body," &c.
4. The eye of our great Captain and General is upon us, and let that inspire us with courage. If a soldier know that his captain is looking on, it will make him to venture upon death and danger. Sirs, He that is invisible, our glorious Leader and Commander, is standing by, noticing how every one of us acquit ourselves in our warfare with sin, Satan, and the world: his eyes are as a flame of fire, searching Jerusalem as with lighted candles;" and should not this inspire us with courage? As it is a pleasure to him to see his soldiers brisk in the day of battle, so it sensibly touches and wounds, him when they faint and go back, as though his cause were not worth the contending for.
5. Take courage, believer, for the cause is good. You fight for the honour of your God, for his precious truths, and for "the liberty wherewith Christ hath made his people free;" yea, for the defence of every thing that is valuable to ourselves and our posterity. The liberties and privileges of the church and kingdom of Christ in this land have been handed down to us at the expense of the blood of Christ, and the blood; of many of the martyrs: and shall we not take courage to maintain and defend what has been transmitted to us at such, a dear rate?
6. The enemy is but weak, and a courageous stand will make them to give way. "Resist the devil and he will flee
from you;" resist his emissaries, that are carrying on a course of defection, and they will give back; or put them to such a stand, that they will be at their wits' end, as we see it was with the Jewish court, Acts iv. &c. You know, when Goliath was slain by David, the heart of the Philistines failed, them, and they fled. Sirs, Goliath is slain by Christ; he, "through death, hath destroyed him that had the power of death;" and therefore a noble stand against his armies will soon dispirit them.
7. Take courage, believer, for JEHOVAH, God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is on your head, Mic. ii. at the close. And, if everlasting strength be on your side, what have you to fear? Psal. xlvi. &c.
8. The victory is sure. The spoils are already in the hand of our glorious General, and he has promised to give the victory to all that are "faithful unto death" in cleaving to him and his way; and therefore take courage. You see what a train of promises are made to those who overcome, Rev. ii. and iii.
I conclude with a few advices, in order to your being fortified with Christian courage against the shadows of death that may cast up in your way through the wilderness.
1. Take care that your covenant with hell, and your agreement with death, be broken; and that you be really settled by faith upon the foundation that God has laid in Žion. O see that you be not building upon any foundation of sand with respect to to your eternal concerns, but that you be really built upon the rock Jesus Christ; for another foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." You may read to this purpose, Matth. vii. 24-27; where you see, that there are but two foundations that all men are building their hope of salvation upon, either upon the rock, or upon the sand. Christ himself is the rock; and all other things else, whether general mercy, self-righteousness, common graces or attainments, are but foundations of sand. And you see, also, that when storms of trouble blow, the house built upon the rock stands the shock; but the house built upon the sand falls, and "great is the fall of it." And therefore my advice to you, in order to your standing when storms blow that have the shadows of death in them, is, For the Lord's sake, take care that the foundation be well laid upon Christ, so that you be joined to him by the bond of faith of God's operation; receive him, and rest upon him, as "made of God unto you" (sinners) "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
2. Study not only to have faith in the habit, but to have faith in the continual exercise; for faith, like the spring of a
watch, sets all the other wheels, I mean the other graces of 'the Spirit, a-going; such as, love, repentance, fear, hope, patience, and joy in the Lord: and while these are kept in ex ercise, there is no fear, though the shadows of death should stretch themselves over us. Hence the apostle exhorts Christians" above all to take the shield of faith," Eph. vi. 16, because all depends upon the grace of faith, which itself depends upon Christ: "I can do all things," says Paul," through Christ strengthening me." Faith speaks like a little omnipotent; faith is a victorious grace, that overcomes the world, and all difficulties in its way. By faith it was that those worthies, mentioned Heb. xi. did wonders; by faith they "quenched the violence of fire, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, and raised the dead out of the grave;" by faith. they endured cruel mockings and scourgings," &c. When created comforts vanish, riches, relations, pleasures; well, in that case, faith will look to the Lord, and have a respect to the holy One of Israel; when sense can find nothing to stay upon, all props are withdrawn, faith will stay itself upon the Lord; when the promise seems to fail, faith will wait, and not make haste; when the strength of created grace begins to fail, faith will stay and sit down upon everlasting strength, Is. xxvi. 3.. So, then, study to have faith in exercise.
3. Study to get your hearts steeled with Christian fortitude and courage, which is the natural fruit of that faith which "worketh by love." We have a noble pattern of this, in the glorious Captain of salvation, whose followers we are called to be, particularly in a suffering lot: he "set his face like a flint," and challenges all his enemies to encounter him, Is. 1.: "He is near that helpeth, who will contend with me ?" &c. Paul followed his Master's example, when he was told that bonds and afflictions did abide him, Acts xx. 24, he answers, "None of these things move me: I am ready not to be bound only, but to die," &c. And when he was to appear
before that cruel monster Nero, and no man to own him, or stand by him, yet he stands his ground, resolving rather to die on the spot than dishonourably to recede from his principles and profession. What holy courage breathes here in the words of David, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, &c.
4. Another advice I give you is this, Study to get rid of the idol of self; self-righteousness, self-wisdom, self-sufficiency. "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." The prevalency of self was the forerunner of Peter's fall; "Though all men should deny thee, yet will not I." He was too confident of his created grace and strength; and the Lord, in order to hum