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they shall never be felt by believers for ever. All the wrath, all the curfe, all the gall and wormwood was squeezed into Christ's cup, and not one drop left to imbitter ours.
Ufe 2. Of Exhortation.
Did not God fpare his own Son, but give him up to the death for us all! Then poffefs your hearts fully in the affurance of this great truth, That the greatest and best of mercies fhall not be denied or withheld from you, if you be in Chrift; lay it down as a fure conclufion of faith, and build up your hope and comfort upon it. This takes in the second obfervation; and furely never was any truth better fortified, never any inference more strongly inferred. Henceforth ye may infer temporal, fpiritual, and eternal mercies; all must be yours, if you be Chrift's, 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22, 23. O, make fure that Chrift's is yours, and never hesitate at any other mercy! For,
First, God hath certainly a value and efteem for his own Son infinitely above all other things; he is his own Son, his dear 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 Chrift is valued. If therefore he spare not the most excellent mercy, but parts with the very darling of his foul for us, how fhall he deny, or with-hold, any leffer inferior mercy? It is not to be imagined, for he is the mercy, emphatically fo called, Luke i. 72.
Secondly, Jefus Chrift is a comprehenfive 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 fouls or bodies, is but a bearn from that fun, a ftream from that fountain. If then God part with Chrift 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 ftreams. All fpiritual mercies are in him, and given with him; Eph. i. 3. "Bleffed be the "God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, who hath bleffed
us with all spiritual bleifings, 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 Chrift, the beft mercy, but delivered him up for us all when we were his enemies, then certainly he will not deny leffer mercies when we are reconciled and made friends to him. And this is the forcible reafon of the apoftle, which even compels affent; Rom. v. 9. "Much
"more, being now juftified by his blood, we fhall be faved ❝from wrath through him." In a word,
Fourthly, and lastly, If it were the very defign 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 fhould withhold them: he will not lofe his defign, nor lay fo many stripes upon Chrift in vain: fome shall furely have the benefit of it, and none fo capable as believers.
When God fpared not his own Son, this was the defign of it; and could you know the thoughts of his heart, they would appear to be fuch as thefe:
I will now manifeft the fiercenefs 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 ftripes his, and the healing balm iffuing from them, theirs; the condemnation his, and the juftification theirs; the reproach and shame his, and the honour and glory theirs, the curfe his, and the bleffing theirs; the death his, and the life theirs; the vinegar and gall his, the sweet of it theirs. He shall groan, and they fhall triumph; he fhall mourn, that they may rejoice; his heart shall be heavy for a time, that theirs may be light and glad for ever; he fhall be forfaken, that they may never be forfaken; out of the worst of miferies to him, fhall fpring the fweetest of mercies to them. O grace! grace beyond conception of the largest mind, the expreffion of the tongues of angels!
THE SEVEN TH
MARK ix. 24. And firaightway the father of the child cried out and faid with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.
is to be from the
context: and briefly it was this; A tender father brings a poffeffed child to Chrift to be cured; with Si potes? a doubting queftion," If thou canft do any thing? have compaffion "upon us, and help us :" Words importing much natural affection and tender love to his child; "Have compaffion [up
on us,] and [help us.]" If the child be fick, the parent ią not well; what touches the child, is felt by his father.
And as they import his natural affection to his child, for alfo his own spiritual disease, or the weakness of his faith. His child was poffeffed with a dumb devil, and himself with unbe lieving doubts and fufpicions of Chrift's ability to cure his child. The child had a fick body,, and the father an infirm foul: Satan afflicted one by a poffeffion, and the other by temptation, ver. 22.
Christ returns his doubting language upon himself, ver. 23. "If thou canst believe, all things are poffible to him that be"lieveth" q. 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 faid with tears, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief."
O how good is it for men to be brought into the ftraits of affliction fometimes! Had not this man fallen into this diftrefs, 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 thefe three parts.
Secondly, A fenfe of the weakness of his faith; Help thou my unbelief.
Thirdly, The affection with which both were uttered; He cried out, and Jaid with tears. If thefe tears proceeded from the fenfe and feeling of divine power, enabling him to believe, as fome think; then they were tears of joy, and would inform us of this great truth:
Doct. 1. That the least and lowest measure of true faith, is matter of joy unspeakable to the poffeffor of it.
If they proceeded from the fenfe of the weakness of his faith, then they give us this note:
Doct. 2. That the remainders of unbelief in the people of God, do coft them many tears: They are the burdens and forrows of gracious fouls.
Doct. 1. That the least and lowest measure of true faith, is matter of joy unfpeakable to the poffeffor of it.
The apoftle, in 2 Pet. i. 1. calls it precious faith; and it well deferves that epithet; for the leaft and lowest degree of faving faith, is of invaluable excellency; as will appear in these particulars :
First, The leaft degree of faving faith, truly unites the foul
to Jefus Chrift, and makes it as really a branch or member of him, as Motes, Abraham, or Paul were.
All faving faith receives Chrift, John i. 12. Indeed, the ftrong believer receives him with a ftronger and steadier hand than the weak one doth, who ftaggers, doubts, and trembles, but yet receives him; and confequently is as much interested in the bleffed privileges flowing from union, as the greatest believer in the world. Such is Chrift's complacency in our perfons and duties, his fympathy with us in our troubles and afflictions, and our intereft 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 finner, to discover and feel that in his own heart, which entitles him to fuch mercies ? in
Secondly, From the leaft degree of faving faith, we may fer as plenary a remiffion of fin, as from the ftrongeft. The weakeft believer is as completely pardoned, as the strongest; Acts x. 43. "By him all that believe are juftified from all "things." All that believe, without difference of sizes, ftrength, or degrees; the leaft as well as the greateft; the believer of a day old, as well as the fathers and worthies of greatest name, and longeft ftanding.
Lo then, the least measure of faith entitles thee as really to the greatest bleffing, as the highest acts of faith can do. It is true, the stronger the acting of faith is, the clearer the evidence ufually is; but intereft in the privilege is the fame in both. If then thou canft difcern but the weakest act and smalleft measure of faith in thy foul, haft thou not reason, with him in the text, to cry out, and say with tears, Lord, I believe? Canft thou receive and read this pardon, the pardon of fuch, and fo many fins, and not wet it with thy tears? O, it is matter of joy unspeakable !
Thirdly, The leaft degree of faving faith infers thy election of God; and if that be not matter of melting and transporting confideration, nothing is. O, it is matter of more joy, that our names are written in the book of life, than that the devils are fubject to us, Luke x. 20. From hence it may be inferred, that we are chofen of God; Acts xiii. 48. " As many as were ❝ordained to eternal life, believed."
Fourthly, The leaft measure of faving 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 things of this life, many of them more than their hearts can with, Pfal. lxxiii. 7. He enricheth many of them alfo with endowments of the mind, na
tural and moral knowledge and wifdom; yea, and adorns them with homilitical virtues, that render them very defirable and lovely in their couverses with men; but there are but few to whom he gives faving faith, Ifa. liii. 1. Believers are but a fmall remnant among men.
Fifthly, and lastly, He that hath any, the leaft 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 fpring that never fails, "it fprings 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 difcern its truth, it will yield but little comfort.
I confefs, weak believers are under great disadvantages as to comfort; small and weak things being ufually very inevident and undifcernible. 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 which words, many very useful figns of true, tho' weak, faith did appear; and they are very relieving to weak believers, to confider them. O that we might find the like in us!
First, His faith gave him a tender, melting heart. He cried out, and faid with tears. Doth your faith melt your hearts, either in a sense of your own vilenefs, or the riches of free grace to fuch vile creatures?
Secondly, His faith gave him a deep sense of his remaining unbelief, and burdened his heart with it: Help my unbelief. And fure fo will yours, if it be but as a grain of mustard-feed in you.
Thirdly, His weak faith carried him to Chrift, in fervent prayers and cries, for his help to fubdue 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! Help, Lord, my heart is dead, vain, and very unbelieving ; there is no dealing with it in my own ftrength: Father, help
Fourthly, His weak faith-made him hunger and thirst after . greater measures of it: Help my unbelief; i. e. Lord, cure it, that I may believe with more ftrong and fteady acts of faith; that I may not question thy power any more, or fay, If thou