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bruised with fear and terror of the wrath of God; grieves and forroweth for sin, as a ruining and deItructive evil; and therefore really defires to be freed from it; despairs of salvation by bimself; and ferioully looks out for relief another way. Acts ii. 17. and xvii 29, 30. Thus the law is our school master to bring us unto Christ; and the faith of the law, makes way for the faith of the gospel. Not that either this legal faith or legal repentance, is the condition of our welcome to Christ and the covenant of grace : our access to Christ and the covenant is proclaimed free, without any conditions or qualifications required in us, to warrant us sinners of mankind to believe on Jesus Christ, as was shown before. But they are necessary to move and excite us, to make use of our privilege of free access to Christ and the covenant; insomuch that none will come to Christ, nor embrace the covenant, without them in greater or lesser measure. Even as if a physician should cause proclaim, that he will freely cure all the sick of such a place, that will employ him : in which case it is plain, none will employ him, but such as are sensible of some malady they labour under ; yet that sense of a malady is not the condition of their welcome to that physician ; nor is it requisite for his curing them, but for their employing him.
Now, in calling you to embrace the covenant, ye are called indirectly, and by consequence, to this faith of the law, namely, to believe that ye are sinpers in life, heart and nature; loft and undone, under the curfe ; and utterly unable to recover your. selves. Yet it is not saving faith, nor doth it inftate one in the covenant of grace ; that is peculiar to another kind of believing : of which in the next place.
The Faith of the Gospel, inflating in the Covenant. Aving faith, which unites to Christ, is the faith
of the gospel. For the gospel only is the miniftration of righteousness, 2 Cor. iii. 9. It is in it that the righteousness of faith is revealed unto faith, revealed to be believed on, Ront. i. 17. It is the alone word which gives finners the notice of a Saviour, of the atoning blood, and the new covenant in that blood ; and therefore is the only word by which saving faith is begotten in the heart of a lor finner. In the word of the gospel, the Lord and Saviour Christ, with all his benefits and covenant, is; and that to be believed on, as appears from Rom. X. 6, 7, 8, 9. So that, the word of the gospel being received by believing, we have Chrilt, and his covenant, with all the benefits thereof: saving faith being indeed the echo of the quickened soul, to the word of grace that bringeth falvation : a trusting of the word of the gospel, and the person, to wit, the Saviour, and the thing, therein held forth to us, to be believed on for salvation. Mark i. 15. Believe he gospel. Ifa. liii. 1. Who hath believed our report? Gal. iii. 2. The hearing of faith. This is that believing, by which we are united to Christ, entered into the covenant of grace, and instated therein unto salvation. The which believing may be explained in four particulars; (1.) The faith of Christ's fuffici. ency: (2.) The faith of the gospel offer : (3.) The faith of our right of Christ : and (4.) The faith, of particular trust for salvation. So putting the
QUESTION, What is that believing, by which I, a left sinner, under the curse of the law, may unite with Jesus Christ, and so enter into, and be instated in the covenant of grace, to my eternal salvation ? We answer thereto directly in these four particulars, by way of direction in this momentous point, whercon Salvation depends.
I. The Faith of Christ's Sufficiency. In the first place, you are to believe, that there is a fulnefs of salvation in Christ for poor finners. This is the constant report of the gospel concerning hin, Eph. iii. 8. That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Heb. vii. 25. He is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him. In the word of the gospel Christ is held forth as an able Saviour; able to save jnen from their fins, and from the wrath of God. His merit is a sufficient sconte againft the tempest of fiery wrath, which incensed justice is ready to cause to fly forth against tranfgreffors: Ifa. xxxii. 2. A man ball be a covert from the tempest. His Spirit is sufficient to fanctify the most unholy: 1 Cor. vi. 11. And fuch were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are fanctified, but-e are justified in the name of the Lord Jefus, and by the Spirit of our God. The righteoulnefs he fulfilled as the condition of the covenant, is so valuable in itself, and in the eyes of his father, that it is sufficient to procure justification, sanctification, and all other faving benefits to sinners, who in themselves deferve death and damnation : so that they are happy who are in him; they shall never perish, but have everlasting life, being eternally secure under the covert of his righteousness, as a sufficient defence. Believest thou this?
This is the general faith of the gospel, which being without particular application, doth not unite the finner to Christ, nor enter him into the covenant; and may be found in reprobates and fallen angels, being only an affent in general to the truth of the doctrine of the gospel, Matth. xiii. 22, 21. and viii. 29. But by the nature of the thing, it is necessarily prerequisite to a faith of particular application : for I must firlt believe a faying to be true in itself, before! can trust to it for my part; I must first believe
a thing to be good in itself, before I can believe that it is good for me.
But where the faith of the gospel is carried forward to uniting with Christ, the effect of this general faith is very valuable as well as necessary. And that is, an high esteem of Christ and his covenant, an ardent defire of union and communion with him, a longing for his righteousness, as a hungry man longs for meat, or a thirsty man for drink. The man sees indeed, that he has no special interest in Christ and his righteousness; but he would fain have it : all is fapless to him without it ; his soul within him cries, Give me Christ, or else I die : and he is con. tent to part with all for him, and to take him for all. This is taught us in the parabies of the treasure hid in the field, and of the pearl of great price, the find. ing out of which moves to sell all, and to buy them, Matth. xiii. 44, 45, 46.
Howbeit this esteem and desire of Christ is different from that which follows upon the soul's union with Christ, when once faith hath taken possession of him and his benefits, and hath got a view of his intrinsic fupereminent worth and value : the which is mentioned, i Pet. ii. 7. Pfalm lxxii. 25. The true spring of all this esteem and desire, is the principle of selfpreservation, and the view of Christ as suited to that end. The merchant man is seeking goodly pearls for his own enriching: and seeing that the one pearl will answer that design, he is restless till he have it. The poor finner is hotly pursued with the law's curse, which is still ringing death and damnation in his ears.
In the mean time, he gets a distant view of the city of refuge ; and therefore he makes forward to it with all speed: but what makes him run, but life, life, precious life, that he may not perish ? Verily, he cannot be expected to act upon a more generous principle, before he is united to Christ : John xv. 5. Without me ye can do nothing. But let
him not fear; he is welcome to Christ, even coming to him from no higher principle. The truth is, the Lord Jesus, by his Spirit, fets the principle of selfpreservation astir, being a thing in itself good; and useth it as a mean to hasten finners unto him. This is evident from the complaint, John v. 20. And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life. Can one imagine our Lord will reject a sinner coming to him for life, when he complains that sinners will not come to him for that end?
II. The Faith of the Gospel offer. In the next place, you must believe, that jesus Christ, with his righteousness and all his salvation is by himself offered to sinners, and to you in parti. cular. This is the plain voice of the gospel to all unto whoin it comes, Isa. lv. 1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money ; come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Rev. xxii. 17. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Prov. viii. 4. Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the fons of men. But alas! few believe it : yea, none will believe it to purpose till the Spirit of the Lord make it plain to them, and persuade them by an inward illumination. Many secure finners hear the gospel, and are glad of the offer : but they discern not Christ's voice in it. They hear it not, as the word of the Lord Christ himself tơ them
but as the word of mien : hence it hath no due authority upon their consciences; fo they pass it over lightly. Thus were his offers of himself entertained, when made by his own mouth, but he not discerned as the eternal Son of God, and Saviour of the world. So, in the congregation of Nazareth, All bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. But they said, is not this Fleph's fon? Luke iv. 22. And