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finners are brought to fay, “Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord; the everlafting covenant fhall not be forgotten," as the words may be read, Jer. 1. 5. Some drawing virtue is let out from that covenant between God and Chrift, that draws out the foul's confent to that bargain, and fo to take on with Jefus as the glorious Lover, that propofes fuch a bleffed bargain as himself to it: O! it is a good bargain!
2. Because faith takes up the warrant and ground it hath to build upon; it reads the gofpel as a love-letter, faying, There is a letter from heaven, and it is backed for me, indorfed for me: it fays, To THEE; "To thee is the word of this falvation fent:" and therefore I may alfo fay, To me, to me, it is fent. He loved me, and gave himself for me.
3. Faith takes up the fitnefs and fuitablenefs between Chrift and the foul's cafe; and therefore makes particular application. As ever a plaifter was fuited to a fore, or a remedy fuited to a malady; fo Chrift is fuited to the finner's cafe; and faith; difcerns this, and fays, There is wisdom for a fool like me; there is righteouf-, nefs, for a guilty foul like me; fanctification, for a filthy foul like me; redemption, for loft and miferable me; there is light, for dark me; and life, for dead me; and liberty, for bond me: and therefore I cannot but welcome it to me.
4. Faith's particular application flows from the approach of the Spirit of faith mixing itself with the word, to make applicatioh of Chrift's redemption. Though the external revelation fixes the duty of believing, and all have an equal warrant to believe in Jefus; yet fuch is the diftinguifhing grace of God towards fome, that he opens up the warrant to them particularly, and caufes them make particular application thereof to themselves, and to believe what others have as fair à revealed warrant to believe, as they have: for, though this powerful coming of the Spirit is neceffary to work faith; yet nothing else but the word is neceffary to warrant faith, and to be the ground of it; yea, in pure believing, the Spirit makes the foul build upon nothing but the word. Faith may be confirmed afterward by the feeling and feal
fealing of the Spirit, as I faid already; but in nothing does the power of the Spirit more exert itfelf in the day of believing, than in bringing the foul to be denied to all external feelings, and to reject all other grounds of faith than what is propofed in the word of grace. Let every one therefore, cry for the Spirit of faith, who is to be received in the hearing of faith. There is a paffive receiving of the Spirit, even as dry ground receives a fhower of water from the clouds; this is neceffary for the working of faith where it is not, and exerting it where it is and there is an active receiving of the Spirit after faith, of which it is faid, "Received ye the Spirit fince ye believed?" And of which alfo it is faid, " After ye believed, ye were fealed with the holy Spirit of promife." Now, it is the former, the paffive reception of the Spirit," or the Spirit coming as the Spirit of faith, that would make a happy believing and applying time among us, by making us liften to the voice of Chrift in the word, and hear him only, of whom the Father fays, "This is my belov ed Son in whom I am well-pleafed; hear ye him."
2dly, Why is it neceffary that faith have this applying property, applying the love of Chrift as revealed in the gofpel with a me, me, of particular appropriation? Why, it is neceffary on many accounts.
1. It is neceffary to juftification. Faith doth not justify. but in a way of applying and appropriating the righteous nefs of Chrift to itfelf, faying, as it is, Ifa. xlv. 24. "Surely, in the Lord have I righteoufnefs:" and hence the name of Chrift, in whom we are justified, is a name of appropriation, Jer. xxiii. 6. "The Lord our righteousness ;" which, in the fingular number, when faith is acted fonally and particularly, is, The Lord my righteousness. The juftifying blood of Christ must be sprinkled on the confcience by a particular application of faith; and it does not justify if it be not appropriated, no more than a plaifter can heal unlefs it be applied. It must be applied with a me, me; and loved me, and gave himself for me.
2. It is neceffary unto fanctification, Chrift is made of God to us not only righteoufnefs, but also fanctification; and he is, fays faith, made of God to me fanctification: hence it is the language of faith, In the Lord have I
ftrength, as well as righteoufnefs. In him there is ftrength for me, fays faith; and without this applying and appropriating of the ftrength and grace that is in Chrift to ourfelves, we cannot be ftrong in the Lord; or ftrong in the grace that is in Chrift Jefus.
3. It is neceflary to confolation. All the comfort we have in the love of Chrift, is in the application of it; He loved me. All the comfort that iffues from his death, is in the application of it; He gave himself for me. Take away this me, or this appropriation of Chrift, and you take away comfort: and hence the more clofely that faith acts upon Chrift, the more comfortably; for, "Believing we rejoice, with joy unfpeakable." And hence alfo, the more unbelief prevails, putting away the grace and love of Chrift, faying, O it is not for me, this promife is not to me, the more difcouragement prevails.
4. It is neceffary to peace, quiet, and reft; "Come to me all ye that are weary, and I will give you reft. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. In me ye fhall have peace," fays Chrift; in a way of applying me, and appropriating me to yourselves, ye shall have peace. Peace with God is a fafe garrifon in the time of outward trouble; but take away the me, me of faith, and you undermine the garrifon; you blow up the peace of the foul.
5. It is neceffary unto boldness in approaching to God; "We have boldnefs to enter into the holieft by the blood of Jefus:" and the boldness of faith flows from the applying quality of it. Faith walks on this red-fea: if it did not keep its feet upon this red carpet, it could not come boldly to God.
6. It is neceffary unto evidential affurance, which is the fruit of faith. Faith's applying quality with a me, me, founded upon the word, is fiducial affurance, which is the very nature of faith grounded upon the word: but faith's reflection upon itself, and upon the work of God within one, is evidential affurance. And this cannot be without the former, no more than there can be true evidences of faith without faith itfelf. When a man can once fay, by the affurance of faith relying on the word, He loved me; then he may come, in due time, to be able
to fay by the affurance of fenfe, I feel his love burning in my breaft, and warming my heart: "After ye be lieved ye were fealed."
7. It is neceffary unto victory, fpiritual victory. And, (1.) It is neceffary to our victory over the devil; for the more clofely we apply Chrift to ourfelves, the more powerfully do we defeat and drive off the devil: The fhield of faith quenches his fiery darts. This applying faith takes in Chrift to itself, and then deftroys the works of the devil. Chrift for us did it once, and Chrift in us does it again.
(2.) It is neceffary to our victory over the world: for,This is the victory whereby we overcome the world, [as well as the god of this world] even our faith;" and particularly faith as it appropriates his love. O! when it fees, and applies, and feeds upon the love of Chrift, how doth it defpife the world, and would not give a glance of his love for all the glory of the world? The believer defpifes its frowns and flatteries both, fo far as he applies Chrift, and confides in him; whereas, when people take not hold of, and rely on Chrift by faith, they take hold of the world, and the world takes hold of them, and overcomes them.
(3.) It is neceffary to our victory over the flesh, and over fin and corruption: fo far as we believe the love. of Chrift to ourfelves, fo far we hate and loath fin; the love of Chrift eats out the love of fin: fo far as the love of Chrift is believed, fo far is the love of fin banished; for fin lofes its dominion while we are not under the law, which is the ftrength of fin, but under grace and love, which is the deftruction of fin. Why does fin prevail fo much, but becaufe we believe the love of Christ fo little.
(4.) It is neceffary alfo to victory over death; let death appear in all its moft dreadful shapes, yet by this particular faith of Chrift's love, we will be able to say, "O death, where is thy fting? Ograve, where is thy victory? The fting of death is fin, and the strength of fin is the law: but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jefus Chrift." O Sirs, when unbelief prevails, crying out, Alas! I fear he hath not loved me: VOL. VII. + K. I
I doubt of his love to me; I doubt of his promise, if it be to me; how can that foul ftand before death? The fear of death overcomes him; but when faith applies the love of Chrift, and the promise fealed with the blood of Chrift, then it overcomes all the fear of death, and overcomes by the blood of the Lamb.
8. This applying faith, faying, me, me, with the apostle here, is neceffary unto fervice, and to the right discharge of duties, particularly that of prayer and praife, &c. namely, that we may ferve the Lord without flavish fear; "That we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might ferve him without fear, in holinefs and righteoufnefs before him all the days of our life," Luke i. 74. God loves a chearful giver, a chearful fervant. Doubts and fears of unbelief make very unheartfome and unholy fervice: but the more lively the faith of the love of God in Chrift is, the more loving and acceptable fervice is performed.
9. It is neceffary unto fuffering, as well as unto fervice. Who is the Chriftian that will take joyfully the fpoiling of bis goods, and fuffer joyfully for the name of Chrift? Even he that hath the moft lively faith of Chrift's loving him, unto fufferings and death, faying, He loved me, and gave himself for me. O! how ought I to love him, and give myfelf, my life for him, through his grace? We may be called to fuffering, but it muft be given us; and it is he that gives to believe, who muft give to fuffer; and he gives to fuffer by giving to believe: for, "By faith, we chufe, with Mofes, to fuffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of fia for a feafon." And the more clofely faith applies the love of Chrift, the more forward it is to fuffer; and the more doubtfully it views his love, the more backward and unwilling to fuffer for him.
10. It is neceffary unto growth in all the other graces of the Spirit: for example, The grace of love will not grow, but by the faith of his love; "We love him, becaufe he first loved us."-The grace of humility and true humiliation doth not grow, but upon the appropriating faith of his love, and of God's mercy venting thro' Chrift; "That thou mayeft remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy