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GAL. ii. 20.
The life which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
[The fourth Sermon on this Text.]
E have already elsewhere infifted on thefe words at confiderable length, in an exegetical, doctrinal, and applicatory manner there is however one obfervation farther, that we have not yet touched at, that we intend, at this time, to illuftrate from them, viz.
DocT. "It is the property of true faith to entertain "the giving love of Chrift, revealed in the gofpel, "with a me, me, by particular application."
This me was very familiar with Paul; He loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal. i. 16. "He revealed his Son in me. 2 Tim. iv. 8. He hath laid up a crown of righteoufnefs for me. I Cor. xv. 10. His grace was beftowed upon me." Thus it was with David, Pfal. iii. 3"Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me. Pfal. Ivi. 9. This I know, God is for me. Pfal. lvii. 2. It is God that performs all things for me. Pfal. Ixi. 3. Thou hast been a fhelter for me. Pfal. cix. 22. Do thou for me,-deliver thou me. Pfal. xl. 17. I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me. Pfal. xiii. 6. He hath dealt bountifully with me. Pfal. xxiii. 6. I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, &c. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. He hath made with me an everlafting covenant," [or, given to me.]
* This Sermon was preached at a facramental folemnity at Burntifand, August 13th, 1739
Many of faith's me's you may read in fcripture; and who.
For the profecuting of this fubject, we shall endeavour to do these things following.
I. Enquire what is imported in this particularizing property of faith entertaining Chrill's giving love with a me, me.
II. How, and upon what grounds faith makes this particular application, and ventures to fay, Me,
III. Name the reafons why faith hath, and must have, this appropriating property.
IV. Deduce fome inferences for the application.
I. What is imported in this particularizing property of faith, in entertaining this giving love of Chrift, with a Me, me ? It may fuppofe and import these following things.
Ift, It fuppofes, that while unbelief reigns and rules, the foul fpeaks in a quite other ftrain; unbelief puts away the love of Chrift from itself, faying, If he hath a loving heart, it is not to me; if he hath a giving hand, it is not to me: unbelief fays with Peter, "Depart from me, før I am a finful man;" furely it is not to me thou art making love. Yea, the language of unbelief is like that of of the devil, "What have we to do with thee? Art thou come to torment us before the time?" What have we to do with thee? Thou art not come to fave us. Indeed, he came not to fave finning angels, but he came to fave finning men; and the devils would have men to think and fpeak, as they did, What have we to do with thee? And Satan gains his point, fo long as he can tempt men I 3
to continue in unbelief, and to fay, There is an offer of Chrift; but, what have I to do with it? it is not to ine: there is love; but, it is not to me: there is Christ giving himfelf, but not for me; I cannot take it to me; I cannot believe it is for me: what have I to do with it? Thus the devilish unbelieving heart makes God a liar, by putting away the giving love of Chrift, that he manifefts to mankind finners by the everlafting gofpel.
2dly, It fuppofes, that fo far as unbelief is broken, in its reign and rule, fo far does the foul bring home to itfelf this giving love of Christ. There are various degrees (when unbelief gets a dash) whereby the finner is brought to this particular application. Conviction of unbelief, is, I think, the firft degree, namely, when the foul is convinced of the fin of not believing the love of Chrift, faying, "Wo is me, that I, who am convinced "of fin and wrath by the law, cannot be convinced "of the love, and grace, and good. will of God mani"fested in Chrift by the gospel! Oh! that I could get this love believed, and applied to myself."-Conviction of righteousness is another degree; when the glory of Chrift's righteoufnefs, as full and all-fufficient, is discovered to the foul, and the foul enabled to take hold of it for its own juftification, pardon, and reconciliation with God.-Conviction of judgment is a third degree; or of Chrift's being a king to fubdue fin and Satan in the foul, as he hath done in his own perfon: and fo the foul is made to fay in effect, "I receive and "reft upon Chrift, as a Prophet, Prieft, and King, for "complete falvation, as he is offered to me in the word, prefented to me in the promife, or given to me in the gofpel." This is the fubftance of the thing relating to faith's Me, though fometimes it is uttered more, and fometimes lefs confidently: fometimes it is faid with a figh, a wo's me, that I cannot fay, He loved me: fometimes with a ftruggle and a battle with unbelief; I believe thy love to me; Lord, help my unbelief: and fometimes with a bold affeveration, as here, without any fear or doubt, He loved me, and gave bimfelf for me. Thus, fo
far as unbelief is brought down, fo far faith raises up to a full affurance.
But more particularly, I think it implies these four things following.
1. A view of the particular offer. The call of the gofpel is to every one that hears it; "Ho! every one that thirfteth, come." When faith comes by hearing, it takes up thefe good news, fo particularly as to fay, Here is good news for me; here is mercy offered to me; here is grace offered to me; here is Chrift offered to me; here is the call given to me by name; here is love made
2. It implies a holy felfishness in faith, appropriating all the offered mercy fo to itself, as if there were none else concerned. This loving Lord fpeaks to me, and tells me, He bath loved ME, and gave himself for ME; and therefore, what he fays in his word, I will fay to myself, He loved ME; what he gives to me in his word, I will take to myself, He gave himself for me. Faith, like the bufy bee, what it gathers abroad, it takes home to its own hive for its own ufe. What the foul gathers abroad in the field of the gofpel, and among the flowers of the promifes, it takes home to its own heart: it no fooner finds fuitable meat for it in the word, but it falls to the eating of it; " Thy word was found of me, and I did eat it; and it was the joy and rejoicing of my foul."
3. It imports a holy pleasure that the foul takes in this giving love of Chrift; and hence, the ingemination, or doubling of the me; fo fweet it is to the foul, that after one tafte, it muft have another. True faith is not foon fatisfied; after one fight of Chrift, it must have another; after one kifs of the Son of God, it must have another: "Let him kifs me with the kiffes of his mouth, for thy loves are better than wine," Song i. 2. It is not love in the finguar, but loves in the plural number: let him give me one love-token after another; ME, ME!
4. It imports a cordial affent unto, and perfuafion of the kindness and love of God in Chrift, manifefted in the word, fo as to give both the heart and hand to the Son of God, with a my Lord, and my God; a Lord for me, a God for me; Me, Me! It is like a laying hold of I 4 him
him with both hands, and embracing him with both arms, refolving never to part with him, but ftill to hold by this glorious Lover and Giver; He loved me, and gave bimfelf for me.
II. The fecond general head was, To fhow how and upon what grounds faith makes this particular application, and entertains this giving love with a me, me. I offer the following remarks for clearing this head.
Remark 1. “That we fpeak not now of the affurance of fenfe; for that comes by fpiritual reflection, or a reflex act upon the work of God, and not a direct act "of faith upon the word of God." That reflex affur. ance comes alfo from the Spirit, witnefling and fealing the foul after believing, and that either mediately, fhining upon graces and experiences, &c. or, immediately, upon the foul, by fome fpecial direct intimation. We fpeak of that affurance, which is properly in faith, of which the apoftle here speaks, when he fays, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Remark 2. "That the particular application of faith "is grounded upon the word; for faith relates to a "teftimony, believing on a word to be believed." So it is faid, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," Rom. x. 17. Faith in a hearer relates to faithfulness in a fpeaker, and credits the word fpoken.
Remark 3. "That it is not every word of God that "is the ground of this particular application of faith." It is not the word of God in the law, but the word of God in the gofpel: for the law ferves to convince of fin, and discover wrath due for fin; but makes no discovery of the love and mercy of God. The light of the law discovers death, damnation, and mifery, for evermore to the finner; but the light of the gofpel difcovers life and falvation thro' Jefus Chrift, who hath brought life and immortality to light.
Remark 4. "That it is not every word or every doc"trine of the gofpel, that is the ground of faith's parti"cular application of the love of Chrift with a me, me. For example, it is not every legal precept or threatening this is taken in to the gofpel-difpenfation, that is the ground