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Against our ignorance, Christ is made our Wifedom.
And being without finne, able to recover us the favour of
And being victor of all our enemies, able to open Paradise
Thus farre in the work of faith the spirit of God worketh upon our understanding; and there can be no faith in us except we be rightly informed in thefe three things;
Our excellent Creation, our miserable Fall, and the comfortable remedy.
2. To fettle us in the faith, the spirit of God must also work upon our will: that is,
I. In refpect of the glorious Creation of man, to move us to three duties;
S1. Of thankigiving to God for it.
2. Of forrow for our fall from it.
3. Of holy defire again to recover it.
2. In refpect of our mifery, it moveth us,
1. To know it by fearching and trying our ways.
C. Carefulneffe, 2. Clearing our felves.
3. In refpe&t of the Remedy, it moveth us,
2. Hunger and thirst after it.
3. To endeavour both all our time, and with all our
1.3. WIE VAN sale
ftrength to attain it.
4. Toufe all the means to procure it. And howfoever we find our felves moft miferable in our felves;yet muft we not so farre undervalue as to think our felves anworthy of eternal life.
2 Cor. 7, (I.
The Jews are charged that they refifted the Holy Ghost, and would not admit the gracious fuggeftions thereof, they would not hear the voice behind them whispering in their eare a return from their evil ways. } 2
Paul and Barnabas tels them, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you: but feeing ye put it from you, and judge your felves unworthy of life everlasting, Lo we turne to the Gentiles.
But are we not all unworthy of eternal life
True; but it is one thing by our evil deeds to give fentence against our felves that we are unworthy;
Another thing it is, out of the confcience of finne to confeffe our felves unworthy.
Yet in this Confeffion and Contrition there is hope, that though in our felves we be both unworthy and uncapable of hea venly life, yet having an eye to the remedy of our mifery, we defpair not in him, because we hold upon fure and precious promifes; which are precious.
1.In regard of the promifer, whofe power and love doth make him able and willing to perform all good to us.
2. In regard of the motive that moved God to promise, expreft by the Apostle to be his own goodneffe, the good pleasure of his will fo free.
3. In regard of the fulneffe of his favour, For God who is rich Eph. 2. 4. in mercy, hath promised. Abundant in goodnesse. Ex. 34. 6.
4. In regard of the extent: gaudium quod erit omni populo, joy Luke 2.jo. unto all People; for this brazen ferpent is lifted up, that whofo
ever looketh thereon may have help.
What then should keep thee from this remedy 2
1. Confider that there is no man in better cafe then thou by nature: for all have finned and are deprived of the glory of God.
2. Confider that this remedy is without thy felf; if it were of thy felf, thou hadft caufe to diftafte it; but it is the free offer of Gods grace to thee. i moga atom ets like wo I
g. Confider that the giver of the Remedy, is the giver of faith alfo, by which the remedy is apprehended and applyed; and if thou do not feel this faith in thy felf, do not judge thy felf void
of it; for there may be and is faith often, where is no feeling
4. Tarry the Lords leafure, as before, wait; for the vifion will not lye. How long lay the poore man at the Poole of Bethelda? and though ftill hindered, yet was he not without hope.
We must not part the truth of God and his juftice and mercy: for the truth of God bindeth both the threatnings of his judgement, and the truth of his mercy.
Thus is the faith of the Elect given and nourished in us. 2. How our faith may be proved.
Because there may be a fhew and feeming of faith, where the true fubftance thereof is wanting, the best way to try our faith, is by the true touchftone: for as gold is tried by the touch, fo faith which is much more precious then gold that perifheth, hath a proper touchstone to try it;
J. That is the conscience of man within; for that doth declare to himself his faith.
2. That is good converfation and godly life; for that doth declare our faith to men.
1. A good Confcience.
For being juftified by faith we have peace toward God. This Rom. 5. peace a wicked man cannot have; Non eft pax impio, faith God, No peace to the wicked.
Against this is a double objection.
1. Many wicked men have quiet hearts and aile nothing, they Object. are not humbled like other men, they are not poured from veffel to veflel therefore their fent remaineth in them.
The effect of true peace is joy in the Holy Ghoft. The wicked Sol. mans joy is not fuch; it is but a flafh; it is neither found, for when any tryal cometh it faileth; neither is it lafting, forit perifheth in time; neither is it growing and increafing, neither is it excufing.
2. Many of the best of Gods fervants have their minds troubled, and fuffer great diftreffes in their confcience for finne; yea fuch a winter there is upon their fouls, that they feel nor any life of grace at all in them. True;but obferve from whence this arifeth,even from the warre of the spirit against the flesh, the world, and the devil, in which
conflict often times the spirit is daunted and dismayed for a fea fon; but there is ever joy in tribulations, and joy arifing and growing out of forrowes, whereas the hearts of them that have not Faith, dye in them.
And this fire is from heaven; the covering of it with oppreffions doth make it burn fo much the hotter; and the ftrring of it up with temptations, doth make it shine the clearer; fo that peace of confcience is a fure figne of a good Faith.
2. Another touch-ftone for this gold, this Faith is an evidence of godly converfation, to approve our felves to God and man, both by doing all the duties of a godly life, and avoyding the contrary.
This is the only work of Faith in us.
i. The pit whence we draw this water of life, is deep; the bucket by which we fetch it up, is Faith; for whatsoever defire or ftrength we have, or endeavour to live godly, it is an extraction drawn by our Faith from Jefus Christ.
I live by Faith in the fame God.
2. Faith only doth affure to us the loving kindneffe of God; God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten (on, &c. Ecce quantam charitatem, what eye fhall behold this, but the eye of Faith?
3. Faith worketh love, that is, it breedeth a correfpondence between Chrift and us; for the beleeving foul affured of Chrifts love to it, doth caft about within it felf,quid rependam? and finding nothing to recompence that love, it fecketh how God may be pleased, and walketh in that way fo neer as he can.
So it is faid of the faithful, that they walk with God, and they anfwer every temptation to evill, as fofeph did; How shall I do this and fin against God?
Or if by infirmity they fall, they cry God mercy, and they groan and grieve within themfelves that they cannot performe better service to God.
Thus we love God, because he loved us firft.
And Christ faid, Many fins are forgiven her, quia dilexit_multum. This is a fruit of the Holy Ghoft fhed abroad in our hearts by faith.
Obferve it, when faith doth lie concealed in us,that our felves
1 Joh.4.19 Luk, 7 47.
cannot difcern it, yet may we difcern in our felves our love of God, and of fuch as love God; and this proves Gods love to us; for we could not love him, except he loved us firft.
4. Faith maketh us fincere; for it is the notation of our faith, it is called faith unfained, and Chrift faith, Blessed be the in heart; faith purifieth the heart, as the Apoftle faith.
Thefe are not the generation of them that are pure in their own eyes, of which Solomon fpake, but the other of which David his father ipake, Hac eft generatio quærentium faciem tuam.
Seeing there cannot be perfectio operis,the perfection of works, God is pleafed if there be puritas cordis, purity of heart, which 2 Cor. r. the Apostle calleth Simplicitie, and godly purenesle.
And that is known by thefe fignes.
i. If a man be humbled in true contrition for fins which he knoweth himself guilty of, and hath no peace in his heart till he hath comfort in his confcience that God hath forgiven them.
2.If he confider his own weakneffe fo farre as to acknowledge that he committeth many fins that he knoweth not, and prayeth earneftly, and often with David, à fecretis meis munda me,cleante me from my secret fins.
3. If he finde in his heart a prefent ftrife of his fpirit against the flesh, wraftling with his own corruptions, and not suffering fin to reign in his mortal body, leading him captive to the Law of finne.
4. If he finde him watchful to prayer and fafting, and watching, and all exercises of mortification, ftriving to bring his body in fubjection to the law of God.
5. If he be willing to hide the word of God in his heart,to arme him against Satans temptations, as Chrift did with fcriptum eft,it is written.
6.If he finde a defire of perfeverance therein to the end, which is difcerned by his fpiritual growth from grace to grace, bringing forth more fruit even in age, as Chrift teftifieth of the Church of Thyatira,more at the laft then at the first, For be that beleeveth Rev. 2.19. in me, out of his belly fhall flow rivers of the water of life.
Thefe be ture proofs of fincere faith, which though it be weak, yet it will gather strength; and being able to fight, will in the end be made able to overcome all our enemies.