« PreviousContinue »
you have, what
proposed to apply the question closely to each present, Dof thou believe in the Son of God? This is a foulsearching question, and demands a strie inquiry, for upon believing on the Son of God, our eternal life depends. Hence our Lord saith to his apostles, and in them to all their successors, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not Mall be damned. These are the words of Christ himself, by whom we shall be judged in the last day; and by them we should try ourselves at present. Sirs, I do not ask you, what convictions
your what experiences you have, nor what your present frames may be. But I ask you,
your thoughts are of Christ? and whether you believe on the Son of God? In order that we may believe in the only begotten Son of God, the Holy Ghost must put forth his divine power and quicken our souls, enlighten our understandings, and bring us to know Jesus in his Godhead and manhood, in his love and mercy, blood and righteousness. Faith is the gift of God, and it cannot be received but by the mighty operation of the Spirit of God; and by it, Christ is received into the heart to dwell and abide with the foul for ever. It is one of the greatest works of God to bring a poor finner to believe in Chrift for everlasting life; for, hereby all belonging to a man's self must be denied and eternally renounced. This is the method which the Holy Ghost makes use of, in order to beget faith in the soul, and draw it forth into act: he presents Christ to the mind by the word, and hereby reveals Christ to the understanding and heart, and thus he draws forth faith, to look unto him, and to exercise itself upon him. For as Christ is the object, fo faith is the act of the foul upon him. It is, in itself, the most simple thing in the world; it consists entirely in believing what God declares concerning his infinite pleasure and delight in the person of Christ, and his work of salvation; in receiving Christ, as the gift of God's love, into the heart, and in living upon him for righteousness and strength. Examine what your thoughts of Christ are, and what you believe of and concerning him; and be assured that every error respecting the person of Christ and his complete and finished salvation, is peruicious to your souls. I will tell you what believers think of Christ, and believe of and concerning him. They think that his person is inestimably and invaluably precious ; that his love passeth knowledge; that his mercy and grace are truly wonderful; that his righteousness is everlasting, and that he is the Primce of Peace, their glorious ornament and everlasting crown. And they believe him to be God essentially, over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. This is the foundation which supports their faith in him; upon it their everlasting hopes depend. He being God and man united in one person, they believe him to be almighty to save, and every way sufficient to perform the work for which he became incarnate. They believe him to be JEHOVAH the Saviour, the righteousness of his church and people; that the manhood being united to the Godhead, as residing in the person of the Son of God, all the sufferings sustained in the human nature of Christ had an eternal worth and value in them; and that Christ hath by himself purged our sins, and by his personal sufferings satisfied divine justice; and that God's law being magnified by his obedience, fin being put away by his facrifice, and God's justice being perfectly ho. noured and satisfied by the soul travail of the blessed Redeemer, they see and believe that God the Father is everlastingly well pleased with the glorious obedience and sacrifice of his Son, and with all that believe in him : he himself having declared that this is his will, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on bim, fould have everlasting life. And here I would turn and apply myself to such as truly believe on the Son of God. You who have fled to Jesus for refuge, and are trusting in his person, obedience, and bloodshedding alone for everlasting life, are the persons I now address : so that I shall not propose the text as a question to you, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? But rather shall endeavour to speak to it in such a manner as to encourage you to go on in the way of believing. Give me leave to suggest it to you, that the devil hates your faith, will be daily nibbling at it, and will endeavour all he can to weaken it, and to hinder you from going on continually in the exercise of it. You will find yourselves at times, ready to call
your faith in question, and may be liable yourselves to forget the ground of your faith, which is the word of God. You that are
You that are really believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are, I conceive, easily apt to conclude, that the principal defect of your faith is in not believing your personal interest in the Lord Jesus ; whereas the greatest defect lieth in not perfectly and thoroughly believing the truths which God himself reveals in the word, as the matter of our faith. You are often complaining of your cold hearts, strong corruptions and dead frames; it is a simple belief of the truth of God, which only can set the heart at liberty, when the Holy Ghost enables you, merely upon the bare credit and testimony of God, to believe that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, and enables you to look God in the face with boldness. You must first believe in the perfect and everlasting atonement made by Christ, before you can feel the virtue of it in your own souls. We often pray that the blood of Christ may be applied unto us, and sprinkled upon us. How is this to be done? By the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of promise. The everlasting virtue of Christ's blood is held forth in the promise of the everlasting gospel; we receive the promise by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit ; and the promise being thus received, the blood of Christ is brought home and sprinkled upon the soul. The preaching of the gospel is, as it were, the sprinkling of this blood, and in believing the everlasting virtue and efficacy of it, the application of it is made. So that believers should never forget, that faith, or believing on the Son of God, sets all the faculties of their souls agoing after Chrift. · Whilst the believer is looking wholly off himself and every other object,
and looks simply at Jesus, all is well. Believing in the righteousness and atonement of Christ, brings peace into the conscience, and the love of God into the heart; and the belief of the Father's love in Christ unto us, warms the cold heart, inflames the affections, and draws the whole foul after its beloved.
It should be observed, believers, that the faith which I have been proposing unto you, is founded entirely upon God's own' revelation which he hath made of his Son, and that the bare word of God is the ground, rule, and warrant of our faith; and as our wants and miseries, fins and corruptions, always preach to us our continual need of Jesus, so the Father's testimony of him, and our title to him, are likewise one and the fame. Christ becomes ours by the gift of the Father unto us, and is freely set forth in the gospel to sinners, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. It matters not what we are in ourselves, for to such finners as we are is the word of this salvation sent. The blood of Christ is more fufficient to cleanse, than sin is to damn the soul.
The righteousness of Jesus is every way sufficient to hide all our deformity from view; and such as behold Christ in the glass of the gospel, are changed into the fame image from glory to glory.
May the Holy Ghost lead you on in a simple dependence upon the Lord Jesus, and keep you looking wholly and only at him, who is the author and finisher of faith; and you will then find that there is blessed fruit brought forth to the praise and glory of divine grace, by such as live by the faith of the Son of