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their pardon is renewed by Christ, as they renew their sins of infirmity : but not because he preventeth their need of any further pardon.
Therefore as God made advantage of the sins of the world, for the honouring of his grace in Christ, that grace might abound where sin abounded ; Rom. v. 12. 16, 17, So do you make advantage of your renewed sins, for a renewed use of faith in Christ; and let it drive you to him with renewed desires and expectations of pardon by his intercession: that Satan may be a loser, and Christ may have more honour by every sin that we commit. Not that we should sin, that grace may abound; but that we may make use of abounding grace when we have sinned. It is the true nature and use of faith and repentance to draw good out of sin itself, or to make the remembrance of it to be a means of our hatred and mortification of it, and of our love and gratitude to our Redeemer : not that sin itself doth (formally or efficiently) ever do any good: but sin objectively is turned into good: for so sin is no sin; because to remember sin is noi sin. When David saith, (Psal. li. 3.) that “ his sin was ever before him," he meaneth not only involuntarily to his grief, but voluntarily as a meditation useful to his future duty, and to stir him up to all that which afterwards he promiseth.
Direct. 13. In all the weaknesses and languishings of the new creature, let faith look up to Christ for strength.'
For God hath put our life into his hand, and he is our root, and hath promised that we shall live because he liveth; John xiv. 19. Do not think only of using Christ, as you do a friend when you have need of him; or as I do my pen, to write, and lay it down when I have done : but as the branches use the vine, and as the members use the head, which they live by; and from which when they are separated, they die and wither; John xv. 1, 2, 3, &c. Ephes. i. 22. v. 27. 30. iv. 4, 5. 12. 15, 16. Christ must even dwell in our hearts by faith,” (Ephes. iii. 17.) that is, 1. Faith must be the means of Christ's dwelling in us by his Spirit; and 2. Faith must so habituate the heart to a dependance upon Christ, and to an improvement of him, that objectively he must dwell in our hearts, as our friend doth whom we most dearly love; as that which we cannot choose but always
Remember therefore that we live in Christ, and that the life which we now live is by the faith of the Son of God, who hath loved us, and given himself for us ; Gal. ii. 20. And his grace is sufficient for us, and his strength most manifested in our weakness; 2 Cor. xii. 9. And that when Satan desireth to sift us, he prayeth for us that our faith may not fail ; Luke xxii. 32. And that our life is “hid with Christ in God," even with “ Christ, who is our life;" Col. iii. 3,4. That he is the Head, in whom all the members live, by the communication of his appointed ligaments and joints ; Ephes. iv. 14–16. Therefore when any grace is weak, go to your Head for life and strength. If faith be weak, pray, “ Lord increase our faith ;" Luke xvii. 5. If you are ignorant, pray to him to open your understandings; Luke xxiv. 45. If your hearts grow cold, go to him by faith, till he shed abroad the love of God upon your hearts; Rom. v. 3, 4. For of his fullness it is that we must receive grace for
John i. 16. Direct. 14. “Let the chief and most diligent work of your faith in Christ be, to inflame your hearts with love to God, as his goodness and love is revealed to us in Christ.'
Faith kindling love, and working by it, is the whole sum of Christianity ; of which before.
Direct. 15. • Let faith keep the example of Christ continually before your eyes; especially in those parts of it, which he intended for the contradicting and healing of our greatest sins.'
Above all others, these things seem purposely and specially chosen in the life of Christ, for the condemning and curing of our sins; and therefore are principally to be observed by faith.
1. His wonderful love to God, to his elect, and to his enemies : expressed in so strange an undertaking, and in his sufferings, and in his abundant grace, which must teach us, what fervours of love to God and man, to friends and enemies must dwell and have dominion in us; 1 John iv. 10. Rev. i. 5. Rom. v. 8. 10. John xiii. 34, 35. 1 John iii. 14. 23. 17. iv. 7, 8. 20, 21.
2. His full obedience to his Father's will, upon the dearest rates or terms: to teach us that no labour or cost should seem too great to us in our obeying the will of God; nor any thing seem to us of so much value, as to be a price
great enough to hire us to commit any wilful sin; Rom. v. 19. Heb. v.8. Phil. ii. 8. 1 Sam. xv. 22. 2 Cor. x. 5, 6. Heb. v. 9. John xiy. 15. xv. 10. 1 John ii. 3. iii. 22. v. 2, 3. Rev. xxii. 14.
3. His wonderful contempt of all the riches, and greatness of the world, and all the pleasures of the flesh, and all the honour which is of man; which he shewed in his taking the form of a servant, and making himself of no reputation, and living a mean inferior life : He came not to be served (or ministered to) but to serve: not to live in state with abundance of attendants ; with provisions for every turn and use, wbich pride, curiosity, or carnal imagination, taketh for a conveniency, or a decency, no nor a necessity: but he came to be as a servant unto others; not as despising his liberty, but as exercising his voluntary humility and love : he that was Lord of all, for our sakes became poor, to make us rich: he lived in lowliness and meekness : he submitted to the greatest scorn of sinners; and even to the false accusations and imputations of most odious sin in itself, (Phil. ii. 6-9. Heb. xii. 1-3. Matt. xxvi. 55. 60, 61. 63. 66. xxvii. 28-31. Matt. xi. 29, 30. xx. 28. 2 Cor. viii. 9.) which was to teach us to see the vanity of the wealth and honours of the world, and to despise the idol of the ungodly, and to lay that under our feet, which is nearest to their hearts; and to be able without impatiency to be scorned, spit upon, buffeted and abused ; to be poor and of no reputation among men; and though not to enslave ourselves to any (but if we can be free to use it rather; 1 Cor. vii. 21.) yet to be the loving and voluntary servants of as many as we can to do them good; and not to desire to have a great retinue, and to be such voluntary burdens to the world, as to be served by many, while we serve none; as if we (who are taught by Christ and nature, that it is more honourable to give than to receive, and to be helpful unto many, than to need the help of many) would declare our impotency to be so great, that when every poor man can serve himself and others, we are (and had rather be) so indigent, as not to live and help ourselves, without the help of many servants; yea, scarce to undress and dress ourselves, or to do any thing which another can do for us. Only such persons are willing to eat, and drink, and sleep for themselves, and to play, and laugh, and to sin for them
but as to any thing that is good and useful, without their present sensitive delight, they are not only unserviceable to the world, but would live like the lame or dead, that must be moved and carried about by others. Among Christ's servants, he that is the chief, must be the chief in service, even as a servant unto all; Luke xxii. 26. Matt. xxiii. 11. And all “by love must serve one another;" Gal. v. 13.
4. His submission unto death, and conquest of the natural love of life, for a greater good, even the pleasing of God, and the crown of glory, and the good of many in their salvation : to teach us that not only the pleasures of life, but life itself must be willingly laid down, when any of these three ends require it ; Matt. xx. 28. John X. 11. xv. 13. 1 John ïi. 16. John x. 17. Acts xx. 24. Matt. x. 39. xvi. 25. Mark xiv. 26.
Mark xiv. 26. Phil. ii. 30. 1 John iii. 16. Rev. xii. 11.
Direct. 16. Let faith behold Christ in his relation to his universal church, and not unto yourselves alone.'
1. Because else you overlook his most honourable relation: it is more his glory to be the church's Head and Saviour, than yours; Ephes. v. 23. i. 21, 22. And 2. You else overlook his chief design and work; which is for the perfecting and saving of his body; Ephes. i. 23. Col. i. 24. 18. And 3. Else you overlook the chief part of your own duty, and of your conformity to Christ, which is in loving and edifying the body; Ephes. iv. 12. 16. Whereas if you see Christ as the undivided and impartial Head of all saints, you will see also all saints as dear to him, and as united in him : and you will have communion by faith with them in him; and you will love them all, and pray for all, and desire a part in the prayers of all (instead of carping at their different indifferent manner, and forms, and words of prayer, and running away from them, to shew that you disown them.) And you will have a tender care of the unity, and honour, and prosperity of the church, and regard the welfare of particular brethren as your own, (1 Cor. 12. throughout, John xiii. 14. 34. xv. 12. 17. Rom. xiii. 8.) stooping to the lowest service to one another, if it were the washing of the feet; and in honour preferring one another ; Rom. xii. 10. Not judging nor despising, nor persecuting, but receiving and forbearing one another; Rom. xiv.
throughout. xv. l-4.7, 8. Gal. v. 13. vi. 1–3. Ephes. iv. 2. 32. Col. iii. 13. Edifying, exhorting, and seeking the saving of one another; 1 Thes. v. 11. iv. 9.-18. Heb. iii. 13. X. 24. Not speaking evil one of another; James iv. 11. Much less biting and devouring one another; Gal. v. 15. But“ having compassion one of another," as those that are “members one of another;" 1 Pet. iii. 8. Rom. xii. 5.
Direct. 17. • Make all your opposition to the temptations of Satan, the world and the flesh, by the exercise of faith in Christ.
From him you must have your weapons, skill and strength. It is the great work of faith, to militate under him, as the Captain of our salvation; and by virtue of his precepts, example and Spirit to overcome as he hath over
Of which more anon. Direct. 18. • Death also must be entertained and conquered by faith in Christ.'
We must see it as already conquered by him, and entertain it as the passage to him : this also will be after spoken to.
Direct. 19. 'Faith must believe in Christ as our judge, to give us our final justification, and sentence us to endless life;' Rom. xiv. 9, 10. John v. 22. 24, 25.
Direct. 20. Lastly, ‘Faith must see Christ as preparing us a place in heaven, and possessing it for us, and ready to receive us to himself.' But all this I only name, because it will fall in the last chapters.
Directions to live by Faith on the Holy Ghost.
This is not the least part of the life of faith. If the Spirit give us faith itself, then faith hath certainly its proper work to do towards that Spirit which giveth it: and if the Spirit be the worker of all other grace, and faith be the means on our part, then faith hath somewhat to do with the Holy Ghost herein. The best way that I can take in helping you to believe aright in the Holy Ghost, will be by opening the true sense of this great article of our faith to you, that by