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will, we say, challenges that which is good, for its object: now the Gospel of salvation is a good word, "it is glad tidings worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." And now as the word is presented, as a good word, so must my act of faith be answerable unto it. See the act of faith answering hereto : "These all died in faith, not having received the promises." What did their faith to them? It made them "see the promises afar off, and they were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth." So that by comparing place with place, it appears that first this Gospel was presented as the word of truth, they were persuaded of it. It is the first act of faith, to persuade men of the truth of the word and then, as it is a good word, they embraced it: these are the two arms of faith; as true, it persuades me; as good, I embrace it. We must not now be too curious in bringing in philosophical disputes, whether one virtue may reside in two faculties; whether faith may reside in the understanding, and the will. The truth is, these things are not yet agreed upon; and shall we trouble ourselves with things not yet decided in the schools, as, whether the practical understanding and the will be distinct faculties or no? The word of God requires that I should believe with my whole heart: as Philip told the Eunuch, "If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest." If with the heart; but with what faculties, may you say? Why, I tell thee, believe with thy whole heart: and what! shall I piece and divide the heart, when the whole is required? Now, to come to those two: the word is presented,
1. As a true word.
2. Then as a good word; a word like gospel, like sal
1. As a true word. And the act of faith answering
m 1 Tim. chap. 1. ver. 15.
• Acts, chap. 8. ver. 37.
n Heb. chap. 11. ver. 13.
thereto, is called in Scripture yvwoię and iπíyvwoig, knowledge and acknowledgment.
1. Knowledge, that is a thing requisite: why? because, if there be a remedy able to cure a man's disease, if he do not know it, what is he the better for it? Knowledge is so essential unto faith, that without it there can be no faith. In John, chap. XVII. ver. 3. the terms are confounded, the one put for the other: "This is life eternal, to know thee to be the true God; and whom thou hast sent:" to know thee, that is, to believe in thee; because knowledge is so essential to belief, as one cannot be without the other thou canst not believe what thou hast never heard of: "I know," saith Job," that my Redeemer liveth ;" that is, I believe he liveth. And hereupon it is said, 'Byr this knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many." Knowledge is an act, primarily requisite to faith; to be justified by his knowledge is to be justified by faith in his blood. This then is the first thing, that I know it to be as true as gospel; then comes the acknowledgment.
2. The acknowledgment. "We know, and are assured that thou art that Christ." This is an assurance; I say not the assurance of my salvation, for that is another kind of thing but an assurance that God will keep touch with, &c. will not delude me, but that if I take his Son, I shall have life, I shall have his favour. When God illuminates me, I find all things in him; when I have him, I am made. When the understanding clearly apprehends this, then comes the next word, it is the Gospel of salvation, there being a knowing, and acknowledging, the act of the understanding then comes the will, and it being,
2. Propounded as a good word; then follows,
1. Acceptation, which receives Christ; "Ast many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons
P Tit. chap. 1. ver. 1. 1 Pet. chap. 1. ver. 3. and chap. 2. ver. 18.
4 Job, chap. 19. ver. 25.
Isaiah, chap. 53. ver. 11.
John, chap. 6. ver. 69.
John, chap. 1. ver. 12.
of God, even to them that believe on his name." Then a man resolves, I will take God on his word: thereupon follows,
A resting or relying on God, which is a proper act of faith. I need no other place than Romans: "Whosoever" shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved: But how shall they call on him, on whom they have not believed?" that is, on whom they have not reposed their confidence. Mark the apostle: "How shall they call on him, on whom they have not believed?" That faith which was the antecedent, must be in the conclusion; therefore our faith is a relying on God: and so in this place this trust is made the same with faith, as it is in the text, "in whom you trusted, after you had received the word of truth:" for our trust and belief there is the self same word, · Nimium ne crede colori: this credo is to have a great confidence in fleeting and fading things; and so it is in justifying faith. "With respect to the unshaken truths of the incorruptible and unchangeable word of his, which liveth and abideth for ever." If I have a knowledge of God, and acknowledgment of him, and from my knowing, my will is conformed to accept Christ.; and if when I have accepted him, I will not part from him: this is faith, and if thou hast this faith, thou wilt never perish. Suppose thou never hadst one day of comfort all thy life long, yet my life for thine thou art saved. Perhaps by reason of thy ignorance thou hast no feeling, yet if thou consent, thou art justified; it is the consent makes the match. If thou consent to the Father, and take Christ the Son, know it, or know it not, thou hast him: though thou knowest not, whether thy sins are forgiven; yet as long as thou keepest thy hold, all the Devil's temptations shall never drive thee from him; thou art justified, and in a safe case, though ignorance and other things in thee cause thee not to feel it, if thou layest hold on him for his sake, thou art apprehended.
OBJ. Now then this is an easy matter, you will say.
u Rom. chap. 10. ver. 13.
1 Peter. chap. 1. ver. 23.
SOL. No so easy a matter as you guess it to be. It were easy indeed, were there nothing but saying the word to make man and wife; there are terms and conditions to be agreed upon. God casts not his Son away, he looks there shall be conditions on thy side; he must be thy king, and head, if thou wilt have him to be thy husband. But what shall I get by him then, saith the wife? Get? there is no end of thy getting. "Ally is thine, Paul, Apollos, Cephas, life," &c. "Thou art Christ's and Christ is God's." Every man will take Christ thus for the better; but there is somewhat else in the match. If thou wilt have him, thou must take him for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. Indeed there are precious things provided for you; " It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." You shall be heirs with Christ, but for the present, while you are in the Church militant, you must take up your cross; you must not look for great things in this world: in this world you must have tribulation, you must deny yourselves, and your own wills. What? would you have Christ the wife, and you the husband? No, if you think so, you mistake the match. Christ must be the husband and the head; and as the wife promises to obey her husband, to stick to her husband in sickness and in health, and to forsake all others; so Christ asketh, wilt thou have me? if thou wilt, thou must take me on these terms, thou must take my cross with me, thou must deny thine own will; yea, it may be thine own life also. Let a Christian consider all these things, these are the words, and these are the benefits, and then compare them together; and then if he can say, I will have Christ however, for I shall be a saver by him: I will take him with all faults, and I know I shall make a good bargain, therefore I will have him on any terms, come what will; when a man can have his will so perpendicularly bent on Christ, that he will have him, though he leave his skin behind him: there is a true acceptation of him. We must not here distinguish with the schools
y 1 Cor. chap. 3. ver. 22, 23.
Luke, chap. 12. ver. 32. Rom. chap. 8. ver. 17.
about velleities, a general wishing and woulding, and true desires after Christ: wishers and woulders never thrive; but there must be a resolution to follow Christ through thick and thin, never to part with him: a direct will is here required. And therefore Christ bids us consider beforehand what it will cost us. "If any man come to me, and hate not father and mother, wife and children, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Do not think that our Saviour here would discourage men from love. Doth the love teach us hatred? The phrase in the Hebrew is "loving less," as it is said, "Jacobb have I loved, and Esau have I hated:" that is, loved less. If a man hath two wives, one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne children, both the beloved and the hated by the hated is not meant, that the man hated one wife, but, less loved her than the other. So " if any man come to me, and hate not father and mother;" that is, if he love not all less than me; and that it is so, we may see it expounded by our Saviour. "He that loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me." There Christ expounds it. He that will follow Christ in calm weather and not in a storm, is not worthy of him; "Which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" What is that to the purpose? "So likewise whosoever he be of you, that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my disciple." It is a small matter to begin to be a Christian, unless you consider what it will cost you; "Do you think it a small matter to be a king's son?" think not on so great a business without consideration what it will cost you. It will be the denying of your own wills. You must be content to follow naked Christ nakedly; follow him in his persecution and tribulation, in his death and suffering, if thou will be conformable to him in glory. When this case comes, it makes many draw back, as the rich man in the Gospel, when he must forsake all, he
a Luke, chap. 24. ver. 26.
c Matt. chap. 10. vet. 37.
e Luke, chap. 14. ver. 33.
b Deut. chap. 21. ver. 15.
d Luke, chap. 14. ver. 28.
1 Sam. chap. 18. ver. 23.