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in the gospel-offer to you? Then, upon the warrant of this word of falvation fent to you, you may fay, with particular application to yourfelf, He loved ME, and gave bimfelf for ME.
It is not Chrift in the decree that you are to look to, while you know that you are elected; this is to go too far back nor is it Chrift in the heart, or in poffeffion, you are to look to, while you know not that you are a believer; this is to go too far forward: but it is Chrift in the word, becaufe you know you are a finner, and Chrift a Saviour held forth to you there, faying, "Look to me, and be faved, all ye ends of the earth; for I am God, and befides me there is none elfe." This is the way between the two former; yea, and the way to fecure them both; the only fafe way.
Having thus explained the text, I come to make application. And we may improve it first by way of information.
1. Hence we may fee the marvellous love of Christ, and of God in Chrift towards finners, and his marvellous kindness in difcovering this love fo effectually to fome, as to make them fee and fay, He loved me. When God would manifeft his power, he makes a world; when he would manifeft his juftice, he makes a hell: but when he would manifeft his love, he makes the Son of his love appear in our flefh, that the Word being made flesh, we may behold his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, full of love and mercy to miferable finners.
2. Hence fee the marvellous proof and demonftration that Chrift hath given of his love, He gave himself for me. Here is love indeed, in his giving himfelf into the hands of justice to fuffer for us, as I might fhew, in his body, in his foul, in his natures, names, ftates and offices, and from all hands; from the unkindly hand of difciples, while one betrayed, and another denied, and all forfook him; from the wicked hands of Jews and Romans, that flew him; from the malicious hand of the devil, the old ferpent, that bruifed and bit at his heel; but especially from the just hand of God the Lawgiver, exacting the debt he engaged to pay in the eternal tranfaction:
faction; "It pleased the Lord to bruife him." And thus he fuffered all the hell that a finite being, fupported by the infinite Godhead, could bear, and all to fulfil fcripture-types and prophecies, to fatisfy juftice, to endure the threatening, to fecure the promise, to destroy death, and to take away fin. O! the glorious defign, and the vast dimenfion of Chrift's fufferings fhew the vast dimenfions of his love, how he loved and how he continues ftill to love; for, though his fufferings be at an end, yet his fympathy continues: his paffion lafts but for a while, but his compaffion is everlafting.
3. Hence fee the infinite evil of fin, which nothing could expiate but Chrift's giving himself a facrifice for We may fee the greatnefs of the fore by the greatnefs of the plaifter. Alas! the evil of fin is not feen. We are ready to think it no worse than as a knife to cut our fingers; but fee it as the fword all over red with the blood of Chrift. To think light of fin, is to think light of Christ and his blood.
4. See the infinite juftice of God, and his severity against fin; for Chrift gave himself for our fins, and juftice would accept of no lefs facrifice. Chrift prays the cup might pafs from him, if poffible; but juftice was inexorable (and what a mercy was it, that Chrift alfo was unalterable in his love?) yet he was in fuch a fituation, that it was not poffible he could be fpared; though he was the eternal Son of God, his blood muft go; but Christ was voluntary. Though the cup was bitter, and made him tremble to look at it; yet, fays he, "If I drink it not, they muft; and, oh! it will poifon and kill them for ever: but though it kill me, I can quicken. myfelf again: therefore, come with it, Father."
5. Hence fee the dreadful state of unbelieving, impenitent finners, that live and die trampling under foot this blood of Christ, and neglecting this great falvation. Wo will be to them who have not the blood of Chrift pleading for them; but, wo upon wo will be to them who have this blood of Chrift pleading against them. If God would not hearken to the prayer of his Son, when he faid, "If it be poffible, let this cup pafs," how will he hearken to the voice of Chrift-rejecting finners? Is it VOL. VII. + H pof
poffible that the cup of wrath can pafs from them? No; they must drink of it for ever themselves.
6. Hence fee the excellency and appropriating quality of faith. It takes hold of Chrift in his love, and the proof of this love, as manifefted in the word, and fays, "O! here is a love-letter from heaven, The gospel of Chrift, bearing an account of his love, and the great"eft proof of his love; and I fee the letter is backed, "and inderfed for me a guilty finner, ME the chief of
finners; and the letter bears a command to me to "receive this lover to myself, and that I believe his "love and the proof of his love with application to my"felf: and therefore, even fo I take him, and trust upon his word, that he loved me, and gave himself "for me." This faith is the gift of God, and the work of God, by the power of the eternal Spirit, mixing with the hearing of his word of grace and love. This faith comes not by feeling of his love, that may be the fruit of faith; but it comes by the hearing of his love. The Spirit, in the day of power, makes impreffions on the heart by the word: but the ground of faith is not these impreffions on the heart; for, the object of faith is not Chrift working on the heart, but Christ speaking in the word therefore, hear what he is faying of his love to you, O finner, and thence draw the conclufion, He loved you, and gave gave himself for you.
The fecond Ufe is for Examination. Try then, whether you be true believers of this LOVE, and fo have a right to the love feaft. Try if you have believed this gospel with application. The gospel-declaration is, He loved us SINNERS, and gave himself for us; faith's application is here," He loved ME, and gave himfelf for ME." I fhall not fay, that every true believer is privileged to fay this exprefly, and that they are not true believers that cannot say it confidently and exprefly; but I am fure every true believer can fay it upon the matter, when faith is in exercife; and faith hath fomething of this language in the bofom of it. And for trying if ever you believed this, with particular application, you may examine by thefe following queftions.
1. Have you got a view of your loft ftate and condition by nature, and fo of your abfolute need of Chrift, becaufe of this fad ftate you were in? Have you feen that it was a destitute state, being without God, without Christ, without hope, without righteoufnefs, without pardon, peace, and life? A guilty ftate, wherein you lay open to God's everlafting wrath; a filthy, polluted ftate, wherein you found your heart a fink of fin and wickednefs; a wretched ftate, wherein you was out of all capacity to help yourself, and had no ability to come to Chrift for help? Have you got a particular afflictive view of all this? If not, then you have not yet believed this gofpel with application, That Chrift loved you, and gave himfelf for you: but, if you have, then the way is fo far paved. 2. Have you got a view and apprehenfion of the Saviour, and of his love and grace in doing and dying? For, it is he who fees the Son, that believeth on him. Have you got a clear view of him, as it were, with open face? 2 Cor. iii. 18. in the reality and glory of his perfon, natures, and offices, and commiffion to fave finners; and of his readinefs and ability to fave you!-Have you got a particular view of him to your own foul?Hath he been revealed not only to you, as a Saviour for finners, but in you, as a Saviour for you? Gal. i. 16. I speak now, not properly of the grounds of faith, but of the marks and evidences of faith.-Have you got a powerful view of him, fuch as hath drawn your heart to him? This is the true teaching of God, that caufes the foul come to Chrift, John vi. 44.
3. Have you, under the influence of this divine teaching and drawing, been made to receive Chrift Jefus the Lord, as held forth in the gofpel, fo as to lay your own particular falvation from fin and wrath over upon him? Have you been made to do this upon the warrant of the general declaration, that he gave himself for, and came to fave finners; together with the particular invitation
Come to me whofoever will?" Have you, upon this warrant, been determined powerfully and pleafantly to caft yourself over upon him, as a blind finner, for wifdom to thee; as a guilty finner, for righteoufnels to thee; as H 2 a filthy
a filthy finner, for fanctification to thee; as a miserable finner, for redemption to thee? Then thou haft, in effect, believed that he loved thee, and gave himself for thee; for this is imported in your applying him thus to yourself.
4. If you have truly believed, that he loved you, and gave himself for you, then the faith of this love will work love, and purify the heart, Acts xv. 9. Hence, this faith melts down the heart fometimes into godly forrow for fin;
They fhall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn," Zech. xii. 10. And it influences the mortification of fin, Gal.v.24. Hence, the foul reckons itself wretched, on account of the remains of fin; "O wretched man that I am! who fhall deliver me from the body of this death?" Rom. vii. 24. Does this faith conftrain you to a holy gofpel-obedience, infomuch, that having received him, you walk in him, Col. ii. 6.; and live daily by the faith of the Son of God, and in the faith of his love; as in the text? Does this faith make you defire and endeavour to live to him that died for you? 2 Cor. v. 15.
These four put together, are infallible marks of faith, and of this faith particularly, that he loved you, and gave himfelf for you. Where thefe are wholly wanting, there is no true faith.
The third Ufe fhall be for exhortation. Did Chrift love, and give himfelf for the like of us?
1. Then, O! let us love him, and give ourselves to him can we bestow ourselves better than upon him? We have but two mites to give, our foul and body; and fhall we with-hold them from him, that infinitely great and glorious him, that gave himself for us? It was fweetly faid of one, "I owe to God all that I am, "for my creation; what fhall I give further for my re"demption? In my creation, he gave me to myself, "and in my redemption, he gave himself to me, and "reftored me to myfelf." We are bought with a price; therefore we ought to glorify him in our fouls and bodies which are his. O may we give him our hearts that loyed us, and gave himself for us and may we give him all our heart-lufts to be killed by him, and revenge the