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be blessed, Pral. lxxii. 17. i. e. by the power of the Redeemer, grace hall be conferred upon them here, and glory hereafter : power being given him over all flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as were given him of the Father.
§ 10. Many Scriptures, which assert the necessity of faith, would, if duly considered, acquaint us what is its nature and object.
It is said, John jii. 16. - God so loved the 66 world, that he gave his only begotten Son, " that whosoever believeth in him, should not “ perish, but have everlasting life:” If we attentively view this verse, and the rest of our Lord's discourse with Nicodemus, it will appear, that we must believe on Christ, considered as God's only begotten Son, who, as such, was in heaven, even when he had come down from it; and yet as also the Son of man: as lifted up on a cross for the cure of our spiritual maladies : and as the gift of the Father's love to a wretched perishing world, the Father having constituted him Redeemer in the council of peace, 2 Tim. i. 9. Acts ii. 23. sent him into the world in the fulness of time, to affume man's nature, and obey and suffer for man, Ifa. ix. 6. Jo. vi. 32. and having actually delivered him up to death as an atonement for our sins, Rom. viii. 32.
It is faid, John iii. 36. “ He that believeth on " the Son hath everlasting life.” The remainder of John's sermon Thews, that we must believe on Jesus as the Bridegroom of the church; as one that comes from heaven and is above all; as one whom God hath sent, who speaketh the words of God, and to whom God giveth not the Spirit by measure; and as the Son of God, whom the Father loves, and into whose hands he hath given all things.
John vi. 47. “ He that believeth on me, hath “ everlasting life;" i. e. as appears from the context, he that believeth on me as the bread of God, which came down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world ; he that believeth me not only willing to save all that come to me, but so able that none such shall fail of complete falvation.
Acts xiii. 38. “By him all that believe are “ justified.” Here, as the connection thews, believing means a persuafion, that through the blood and merits of Christ, the chief of finners may be pardoned and accepted.
Acts xxvi. 18. “ Sanctified by faith that is in “ me;" i. e. by a persuasion of the truth chiefly preached by the apostles, of which we have a comprehenfive abstract, ver. 23. " That Chrift « should suffer, and that he thould be the first “ that should rise from the dead, and should “ fhew light unto the people and to the Geno tiles.”
Rom. jii. 21-26. faith is evidently represented as a believing, that through Chriít's blood and righteousness God may be juft, in justifying men who have finned, and come short of his glory. And that a persuasion of Christ's death, as an atonement for sin, is essential to saving faith, is strongly intimated, John i. 29. Gal. ii. 20.
$ 11. One thing further I would observe, that believing in Chrift, neceffarily supposes, a believing that mankind by their rebellions against God, had merited the severest effects of his displeasure ; were unable to satisfy divine justice for their offences, or to cure their natural depra
vity; and were unworthy of the divine pity and help ; so that their falvation is wholly to be ascribed, to the free mercy of God, and to the blood and obedience of Jesus. God's sending his Son to be the Saviour of the world, demonstrates, that the world was in a perishing condition, and without this amazing interposition must have actually perished. And this again demonstrates the infinite evil of fin, and the eternal and unalterable obligations men are under to love and serve God. To one insensible, that the law of God is holy, just, and good, and that his violations of that law deserve the most dreadful punishment, the tidings of a Saviour will appear an insult, not a favour. And the sufferings of that Saviour, in the room of finners, will lead such a one, instead of admiring the tremendoas justice and spotless purity of God, to suspect him of cruelty, whose tender mercies are over all his other works. Mr. Glass justly observes, Teftimony, c. 5. § 3. That without a work of the law upon their consciences, men will fight the glad tidings of salvation.
§ 12. But I pretend not to collect a list of the truths, which it is evident from Scripture, saving faith either directly assents to, or necessarily supposes. It is for wise reasons, no such lift is contained in the sacred oracles. It might have proved a fatal temptation to many, to rest content, with some general belief of these first principles of the oracles of God, instead of growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. For the same reason, the Bible tells us not, though many divines have attempted to tell us, how near we may approach the borders of wickedness without committing it, or how far we may be overcome by fin and satan,
and yet retain a principle of grace. The filence of the Scripture, is a fpur to diligence and advancement in religion, and a warning to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear.
UT are there not names given to faith,
in various passages of Scripture, that import choice, affection, and other operations of the will ?- This has been taken for granted. How far upon sufficient grounds, I am now to enquire.
Faith is represented as hearing Christ, or the words or voice of Chrift, Deut. xviii. 15. Psal. xviii. 45. Prov. i. 33. Isa. xlix. 1. lv. 3. John v. 24, 25. Without doubt every believer hears the voice of Christ calling him to the exercise of devout affections, and a correspondent practice. But that voice of the supreme Wisdom (c), the heavenly Bridegroom (d), the good Shepherd (e), which was to call nations hitherto ignorant of true religion (f), yea, to quicken the dead and call the things that are not, as tho' they were (8), is no other than the glad tidings that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, This is the joy and gladness which David prays he might be made to hear, Pfal. li. 8. Faith hears, i. e. credits these declarations of God's mercy through Christ in the written word, and in the preached gospel. Clemens Alexandrinus
(c) Prov. i. 20. viii. 1, 4. (d) Cant. ij. 8. (e) John x. 3, 16, (d) Ifa. lv. 5.
juftly observes, Strom. 1. 5. c. 1. that faith is the ear of the soul, and that Homer uses hearing for perceiving. Odyl: (. ver. 186.
§ 2. Receiving Christ, where it is put for faith, is nothing else than receiving the gospel-testimony concerning Christ. In almost all languages, the metaphor of receiving, is often applied to hearing, learning, believing. Thus Hesychius de viris doctrina claris, p. 13. W« &VIO! Tafaned artis Ed Earto. Virgil
. Æneid. II. 65. Accipe nunc Danaum infidias. Sulpicius Severus, Dial. I. pag. 428. “ A beato viro Joanne verbum falutis ac“ cepit.” The same phraseology, is used both in the Old and New Testament, Prov. i. 3. ii. 1. iv. 10. Matth. xi. 14. Acts xvii. 11. I Cor. xi. 23. xv. 1, 3. Gal. i. 9. Philp. iv. 9. And faith is expressly described as a receiving God's testimony concerning his Son, John iii. 32, 33. 1 John v. 9. As a gladly receiving Peter's words, Acts ii. 41. And as receiving the word of God, Acts xi. 1.
Receiving Christ therefore, John i. 11, 12. is a receiving him as the light of the world, ver. 4-9. which he was chiefly by his death and sufferings, as by these he witnessed to and manifested the truth, in a manner peculiar to himself, as the Son of God and Saviour of men. John v. 43
come in my Father's ye
receive me not.” The meaning is, ye do not believe and acknowledge my d vine commission to save finners. For our Lord proceeds to thew, ver. 44---47. why they believed not his words, which would not have been to his purpose, if believing his words and receiving him had not meant one and the same thing,
66 I am