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. they shall never be felt by believers for ever. · All the wrath, all the curse, all the gall and wormwood was squeezed into Christ's cup, and not one drop left to imbitter ours. 1,
i Ufe 2. Of Exhortation. .. . i Did not God spare his own Son, but give him up to the death for us all! Then poffess your hearts fully in the assurance of this great truth, That the greatest and best of mercies shall not be denied or withheld from you, if you be in Chrift; lay it down as a fure conclusion of faith, and build up your hope and comfort upon it. This takes in the second observation; and surely never was any truth better fortified, never any inference more strongly inferred. Henceforth ye may infer temporal, spiritual, and eternal mercies; all must be yours, if you be Christ's, 1 Cor. ii. 21, 22, 23.0, make sure that Christ's is yours, and never hesitate at any other mercy! For,
First, God hath certainly a' value and esteem for his own Son infinitely above all other things; he is his own Son, his déar Son, Col. i. 13. the Beloved, Eph. i. 6. the delight of his foul, Ifa. xlii. 1. Nothing is valued by God at that rate that Christ is valued. If therefore he spare not the most excellent mercy, but parts with the very darling of his soul for us, how shall he deny, or with-hold, any lefser inferior mercy? It is not to be imagined, for he is the mercy, emphatically fo called, Luke i. 72.
Secondly, Jesus Christ is a comprehensive mercy, including all other mercies in himself; he is the tree of life, all other mercies are but the fruits growing on him; he is the fun of righteousness; and whatever comfort, fpiritual or natural, refreshes your souls or bodies, is but a bearn from that fun, a stream from that fountain. If then God part with Christ to you, and for you, he will not withhold other mercies ;' he will not give the whole tree, and deny an apple; bestow the fountain itself, and deny you the streams. All fpiritual mercies are in him, and given with him ; Eph. i. 3. 6 Blessed be the " God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed 66 us with all spiritual bleilings, in heavenly places in Chrift “ Jesus.” All temporals are in him, and given with him, Matth. vi. 33. they are additionals to that great mercy,
Thirdly, If God spared not Christ, the beit mercy, but delivered him up for us all when we were his enemies, then cere tainly he will not deny léffer mercies when we are reconciled and made friends to him. And this is the forcible reason of the apostle, which even compels affent ; Rom. v. 9. " Much
. Nn 2..
“ more, being now justified by his blood, we shall be faved f from wrath through him.” In a word,
Fourthly, and lastly, If it were the very design and intention of God in not sparing his own Son, to open thereby a door for all mercies to be let in upon us, then it is not imaginable he should withhold them : he will not lose his defign, por lay fo many stripes upon Christ in vain : some shall surely have the benefit of it, and none so capable as believers., . When God spared not his own Son, this was the design of it; and could you know the thoughts of his heart, they would appear to be such as these : *** - I will now manifest the fierceness of my wrath to Chrift, and the fulness of my love to believers. The pain shall be his, that the ease and reft may be theirs; the stripes his, and the healing balm ifsuing from them, theirs, the condemnati. on his, and the justification theirs ; the reproach and shame his, and the honour and glory theirs; the curse his, and the blessing theirs ; the death his, and the life theirs ; the vinegar and gall his, the sweet of it theirs. He shall groan, and they shall triumph; he fhall mourn, that they may rejoice; his heart mall be heavy for a time, that theirs may be light and glad for ever; he shall be forsaken, that they may never be forsaken ; out of the worst of miseries to him, shall fpring the sweetest of mercies to them. O grace! grace beyond conception of the largest mind, the expression of the tongues of angels !
THE SE V EN TH .MED. I TATION,
UPON MARK IX. 24. And straightway the father of the child cried out,
and said with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief. THE occasion of these words is to be gathered from the
I context : and briefly it was this ; A tender father brings a poffeffed child to Christ to be cured ; with Si potes? a doubting question, '". If thou canst do any thing ? have compaffion ¢ upon us, and help us :" Words importing much natural affection and tender love to bis child; “ Have compassion (upse on us,] and [help us.]” If the child be fick, the parent is not well ; what touches the child, is felt by his father.
And as they import his natural affection to his child, fo . also his own spiritual disease, or the weakness of his faith. His child was possessed with a dumb devil, and himself with unbe. lieving doubts and suspicions of Christ's ability to cure his child. The child had a fick body, and the father an infirm ! foul : Satan afflicted one by a possession, and the other by temptation, ver. 22 · Christ returns his doubțing language upon himself, ver. 23. “ If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that be“ lieveth :" g. d. Doft thou doubt of my ability to heal thy child ? Question rather thy own ability to believe, for his cure. If he be not healed, the caufe will not be in my inability, but in thine own infidelity: Which he speaks not, to infinuate that faith was in his own power, but to convince him of his weakness, and drive him to God for affiftance: Which effect it obtained ; for immediately he cried out, and said with tears, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” ..
O how good is it for men to be brought into the straits of affliction fometimes ! Had nor this man fallen into this di'stress, it is not like that he had (at least not so soon) arrived either to the sense of his grace, or the weakness of it.
In the words we may note these three parts.
First, A profession of his faith ; Lord, I believe.
Thirdly, The affection with which both were uttered; Her
matter of joy unspeakable to the posesor of it. ,
do cosi'them many tears : They are the burdens and for
rows of gracious fouls.
matter of joy unspeakable to the posesor of it.
The apostle, in 2 Pet. i. 1. calls it precious faith ; and it : well deferves that epithet ; for the least and lowest degree of saving faith, is of invaluable excellency; as will appear in these particulars : ? First, The least degree of faving faith, truly unites the foul .
Ceak one doth, him with a fer John i. 12. Ind
to Jesus Christ, and makes it as really a branch or member of him, as Moles, Abraham, or Paul were.
All saving faith receives Christ, John i. 12. Indeed, the Itrong believer receives him with a stronger and steadier hand than the weak one doth, who staggers, doubts, and trembles, but yet receives him; and consequently is as much interested in the blessed privileges flowing from union, as the greatest believer in the world. Such is Christ's com placency in our persons and duties, his fy:n pathy with us in our troubles and afflictions, and our interest in his person and purchase. And is not this matter of exceeding joy? Is it not enough to melt, yea, overwhelm the heart of a poor sinner, to discover and feel that in his own heart, which entitles him to such mercies?
Secondly, From the least degree of saving faith, we may infer as plenary a remission of fin, as from the strongest. The weakest believer is as completely pardoned, as the strongest ; Acts x. 43. “By him all that believe are justified from all « things." All that believe, without difference of fizes, strength, or degrees; the least as well as the greatest; the believer of a day old, as well as the fathers and worthies of greatest name, and longest standing. · Lo then, the least measure of faith entitles thee as really to the greatest blessing, as the highest acts of raith can do. It is true, the stronger the acting of faith is, the clearer ihe evidence usually is; but interest in the privilege is the same in both. If then thou canst discern but the weakest act and smalleft measure of faith in thy soul, haft thou not reafon, with him in the text, to cry out, and say with tears, Lord, I believe Canst thou receive and read this pardon, the pardon of such, and so many sins, and not wet it with thy tears? O, it is matter of joy unspeakable!
Thirdly, The least degree of saving faith infers thy election of God; and if that be not inatter of melting and transporting consideration, nothing is. O, it is matter of more joy, that our names are written in the book of life, than that the devils are subject to us, Luke x. 20. From hence it may be inferred, that we are chosen of God; Acts xiii. 48. “ As many as were “ ordained to eternal life, believed.”
Fourthly, The least measure of saving faith, is a mercy greater than most men ever partake of. . It is true, God is rich and bountiful in the gifts of provi. dence to others; they have the good rhings of this life, many of them more than their hearts can with, Pfal. lxxiii. 7. He enricheth many of them also. with endowments of the mind, na
fural and moral knowledge and wisdom ; yea, and adorns them with homilitical virtues, that render them very desirable and lovely in their couverses with men; but there are but few to whom he gives saving faith, Isa. liii. 1. Believers are but a small remnant among men.
Fiftbly, and lastly, He that hath any, the least degree of faving faith, hath that which will never be taken from him : All other excellencies go away at death, Job iv. 21. but this is a spring that never fails, “it springs up into everlasting life," John iv. 14. A man may outlive his friends and familiars, his estate and health, his gifts and natural parts, but not his faith. How great matter of joy and comfort is wrapt up in the least degree of faith! ; . .
Ufe 1. Of trial. It concerns us then to examine ourselves, whether our faith - be true, be it more or less, stronger or weaker ; and, until we O, discern its truth, it will yield but little comfort. ETTE I confess, weak believers are under great disadvantages as ta are not comfort; small and weak things being usually very inevident, evet ,
and undiscernible. But yet, in this example before us, we find weak faith was made evident, though much unbelief was
mixed with it. Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief. In MED - which words, many very useful signs of true, tho' weak, faith 20. did appear; and they are very relieving to weak believers, to the confider them. O that we might find the like in us!
First, His faith gave him a tender, melting heart. He cried out, and said with tears. Doth your faith melt your hearts,
either in a sense of your own vileness, or the riches of free bele grace to such vile creatures ? of Secondly, His faith gave him a deep sense of his remaining
unbelief, and burdened his heart with it: Help my unbelief.
And sure so will yours, if it be but as a grain of mustard-feed el in you.
. Thirdly, His weak faith carried him to Christ, in fervent jo, prayers and cries, for his help to subdue unbelief in him; and
fo will yours, if your faith be right. O how often do the
people of God go to the throne of grace upon that errand ! V als Help, Lord, my heart is dead, vain, and very unbelieving;
there is no dealing with it in my.own strength : Father, help
Fourthly, His weak faith-made him hủnger and thirst after of greater measures of it: Help my uinbelief ; i. e. Lord, cure it, ce poate ehat I may believe with more strong and steady acts of faith ;, PH that I may not question thy power any more, or fay, If thout