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may be rich; for eye-salve, that he may see; and for white raiment, that he may be clothed :" the other ordinarily raises his expectations from Christ, in proportion to his own imaginary qualifications and good dispositions. The one as well desires salvation by Christ from pollution as from guilt; the other has a reserve of some deceitful lust, and hugs some Delilah in his bosom, which he cannot be willing to part with. In fine, the one is willing to accept of the Lord Jesus Christ upon any terms; the other will not come to Christ but upon terms of his own stating. But I shall find occasion to speak further to some of these things under the following head.
3. A saving faith is an humble trust in, and depe ce upon, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the author of our eternal salvation ; but a dead faith always builds upon some false foundation, or upon none at all. A saving faith is often described in Scripture by“ a trusting in the Lord,” “ committing our way to him,” “ resting in him," and other such like expressions; which suppose an humble confidence in the abundant sufficiency of the Redeemer's merits, and the boundless riches of God's mercy in him.
Accordingly, the true believer, in his greatest darkness and discouragement, ventures his soul and eternal interests in the hands of Christ, with at least a supporting and encouraging hope. His past sins may appear in most affrightening forms, vastly numerous, dreadfully aggravated: however, he yet keeps his hope alive, with this comforting consideration, that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.”
He may be oppressed with a sense of the horrible defects of his duties and religious attain.
ments; but he yet sees righteousness enough in Christ, for a safe foundation of confidence, though he find none in himself. This, and this alone, keeps his soul from sinking, answers the clamours of conscience, and disposes him to rely upon the free grace and mercy of God. He may be distressed with the prevalence of his inward corruptions,—he may, in an unguarded hour, be surprised and foiled by the power of his sinful appetites or passions, or by some unexpected temptation; but, even in this case, his refuge is in that blessed “ Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” And though, from sad experience of his own dreadful imperfections, he may be ready to question his state, and to fear lest hé be deceived, and lest he should finally be ashamed of his hope; nevertheless, he ventures that also in the hands of Christ, and depends upon him, that he will not leave him to a soul-ruining deceit, but will “ guide him by his counsel, and afterwards bring him to glory." Such a dependence upon Christ the believer ordinarily exercises in his darkest hours and dullest frames. But when in the more lively exercise of grace, and when Christ is pleased to shine into the soul with clearer communications of his love,
his confidence, like a rock in the sea, stands unmoved ' in the greatest tempests; and he “ knows whom he
has believed, that he is able to keep that which he has committed to him against that day.” With this confidence he can even glory in tribulation; he can cheerfully look death itself in the face, and triumph over the king of terrors.
But now, if we take a view of a dead faith, we shall find it in the quite contrary properties. The
Thus too many
insincere professor, as has been observed already, ordinarily raises his expectations and encouragements from something in himself. His good frames, his joys and comforts, his endeavours or designs to serve God, are what he has to depend upon; and upon these he does and will depend, and perhaps will never see his mistake till it be too late. Some of these, indeed, do not find even this false foundation to build upon, but quiet their souls with a loose and general hope. They believe that God is merciful, and that Jesus Christ came to save sinners; or they hope they shall, some time or another, obtain grace, though they find none at present. of them go on quietly in their sins, dwell at ease, and cry peace to their souls, till the flood of God's displeasure sweeps away their refuges of lies. Others there be, who, by means of a better education, or from some awakening sense of their guilt and danger, cannot but see that these beds are too short to stretch themselves upon, and therefore their faith is their torment. They believe in Christ as their Judge, but not as their Saviour. They spend their lives, in fears and anxieties, in disquietude and uneasiness of mind, as often as their consciences are awake, to entertain any serious apprehensions of a future and eternal world. Thus they live under a spirit of bondage; not being able to venture their guilty souls upon the pardoning mercy of God, and the infinite merit of the Redeemer's blood.
Nothing can be more apparent, than the distinction and difference here represented between these two sorts of believers. The one, in all his straits, fears, difficulties, and dangers, looks unto Christ, as
to a sure foundation of safety, confidence, and hope; and though he may at some times doubt his interest in Christ, he can at no time deliberately place his confidence, or expect safety for his soul any where else, but in the mere mercy of God in Christ: the other leaves the soul asleep; or else seeks rest only from the righteousness of the law, from desires and endeavours of his own, and must either find comfort there, or no where. The one ventures all his interests, and all his hopes of grace and glory, upon the faithfulness of the Gospel-promises, and the infinite mercy of God in Christ: the other sees no way to quiet the accusations of his conscience, and to obtain qualifications for salvation, by depending upon a naked promise. In a word, the one can see safety and security, in leaving all the concerns both of time and eternity in the hands of Christ : the other, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, must make the righteousness of the law his refuge, or else live without the comfort of hope.
4. A saving faith subjects the soul to the sceptre and yoke of Christ, but a dead faith leaves the soul unrenewed and disobedient. A true “ faith purifies the heart, and overcomes the world; and he that hath this hope in Christ, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." A true faith unites the soul to Christ, as the branch is united to the vine, and thereby enables the man to bring forth much fruit. The true believer hates every false way; he mourns over, and watches, strives, and prays against all the corruptions of his nature, and all the imperfections of his heart and life. There is no known sin which he indulges himself in; no known duty which he
willingly neglects; no difficulty which can deter him from following Christ; no temptation which can allure him from endeavouring a conformity to the whole will of God. “ Not as though he had already attained, or were already perfect.” He has daily cause to lament his defects; but yet he can truly say, that “he delights in the law of the Lord, after the inward man;" and accordingly endeavours, in every station and relation, in all his conduct both to God and man, as well in secret as openly, to live a life of conformity to God in all the duties he requires of him. And wherein he cannot attain, he is yet pressing towards perfection, and groaning after a further progress in holiness, even in all instances, without reserve; nor yet satisfied without a final perseverance, to crown his sincerity.
But, on the other hand, the obedience of an in-, sincere professor is very partial, defective, temporary, and but a matter of force and constraint upon the appetites and affections. If, with Herod, he reforms and does many things, he yet retains his Herodias, some darling corruption unmortified, or leaves some unpleasant duty neglected. Or if, by the lashes of an awakened conscience, he is driven, for a time, to a more general reformation from all known sin, and to outward attendance upon all known duty, he finds no inward complacency in it; and therefore is like a dull horse, that will be kept on his way no longer than he feels a spur in his side.
Here, then, is a conspicuous difference between a true and a false believer. The one has a principle of holiness, a delight in it, and an earnest and continuing desire after further proficiency in the divine