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fhame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou haft done," Ezek. xvi. 63. The faith of God's being pacified in Christ, a loving and well-pleafed God in Christ, abafes the foul, and humbles it to the duft.-The grace of patience does not grow, but upon this root. We bear all things, and fuffer chaftifement kindly, while we believe that he chastises not in wrath, but in love. Thus I might go through the other graces of the Spirit, and fhew that this applying property in faith, is neceffary to the increafe of the whole of them.
11. It is neceffary unto perfeverance: hence, fays Chrift, "As the Father hath loved me, fo have I loved you; continue ye in my love:" intimating, that the particular faith of his love, and of the firmnefs, greatnefs and duration thereof, like that between him and his Father, is a frong root of perfeverance, and continuing in his love. Our love to him, and perfeverance in the duties of love to him, is up and down, ebbs and flows with the believing perfuafion of his love.
12. It is neceffary unto our prefervation from the errors and defections of the times, and to our excitation to any zealous appearance for Chrift. This particular faith of Chrift's love is a notable fence against errors that abound in the day we live in: for, as the most part receive not the love of the truth, that they might be faved, and are given up to ftrong delufions, to believe a'lye; fo, when the truth is received in love, and Chrift, the centre of all truth, embraced in love, it makes the foul stand out against all damnable error, faying, Oh! fhall I deny the truth, who have got the faith and feeling of the love of Christ therein.
It is a notable fence against the apoftacy of the times: "Will ye alfo go away?" faid Chrift to his difciples; ye to whom I have manifefted myfelf and my love, as I have not manifefted myfelf to the world. No, no; "To whom fhall we go?" faid Peter; Thou haft the words of eternal life:" intimating, that the faith of his word of grace, was a cord to bind them to abide with him, and to keep them back from apoftacy.
This particular faith would also excite us to public zeal. Public religion is only right founded, when it ftands upon
perfonal religion, perfonal acquaintance with Chrift, and the particular faith of his love. They that can fay believingly, He loved me, will endeavour to fay it practically, fhewing their faith by their love, and fhewing their love by their zeal. Love is the fire, zeal is the flame; they will fhew the fire by the flame.
In a word, it is neceffary in all thefe particulars, for teaching the great end of glorifying God, and enjoying him. When we are ftrong in the faith, we give glory to God; and especially when we believe against unbelief, by believing his love to us as revealed in the word, against all objections to the contrary from other quarters: but we difhonour him, by unbelieving jealoufies of his kindnefs, and by difcrediting his word; denying both his mercy and truth.--Again, the more clofely we cleave to him by this applying faith, the more fully do we enjoy him; for, this faith is a drawing near to him; whereas the oppofite, unbelief, is a departing from him, Heb. iii. 12. We come now,
IV. To the Fourth and laft thing propofed, which, was to make application. And this we may effay in an ufe of information, examination, and exhortation.
1ft, We may improve this doctrine for information. Is it the property of true faith, to entertain the giving love of Chrift, declared in the gofpel, with a me, me, by particular application? Hence fee,
1. The danger and difadvantage of unbelief: it rejects the grace and love of Chrift, faying, It is not to me. It rejects the gift of God, and the great falvation, faying, It is too great for me; it is too good for me; I must refolve to want it; for I am not meet for it, and it is not meet for me. Oh! dangerous cafe! "He that believeth not, hath made God a liar."
2. See the excellency and advantage of faith and believing. It takes home Chrift and all his grace and fulness to itself, faying, Oh! here is a treasure for me; here is a portion for me; a good bargain for me: however unlovely I am, yet here is a wonderful Lover and Suiter for me: he evidenced his love for me, by giving himfelf for me: he is evidencing his love to me, in giving
himfelf in the gofpel offer to me: It welcomes Chrift and his love, faying, He loved me.
3. Hence fee the danger of that legal doctrine, that obftructs their particular application of faith, by bringing in fo many terms and conditions neceffary, in order to be the ground and foundation of faith's perfuafion; making either fome work done by people, or fome work wrought in them, to be the ground of confidence with reference to the love of Chrift; thus leading people into themselves for a foundation of faith and hence few or none can, by their doctrine, fee any ground to apply the love of Chrift to themfelves, because they cannot fee any ground in themfelves, where indeed they ought not to feek it. That legal fpirit is too natural to all mankind, and hath little need to be furthered by legal doctrine.
4. Hence fee alfo the darknefs that obfcures many gofpel fermons, even among these who are otherwife evangelical, yet in this they are bemifted, that they cannot take up any affurance or perfuafion in the matter of faith, diftinct from that affurance of fenfe, which follows after faith; nor take up the affurance, application, and appropriation of faith, grounded upon the word of God, which is the duty of all that hear the gofpel, diftinct from the affurance of fenfe, founded upon the work of God, which is the privilege of believers at times. How miferably do many confound the grounds of faith with the marks of faith? and fo fhut the door of faith, many times, against all that have not the evidences of faith; and, through mistake of the gofpel method of falvation, fometimes make the marks and evidences of faith in them who have believed, to be fo many lets and hindrances to the faith of them that never believed, as if they ought not to believe the love and grace of God revealed in the word, unless they have these marks: whereas finners are warranted to build upon the grounds of faith that are without them in the word, though they can fee no marks of faith within them; for to build upon thefe, although they had them, would be a building of fenfe, and not a building of faith.
adly, This doctrine may be improved by way of K 3
examination. Try whether or not you have been ever brought to this particular application of faith; or to the Me, Me, that is here spoken of; He loved ME, and gave bimfelf for ME. If fo, then,
1. The time hath been, when the wrath of God, revealed in the law, hath been applied particularly to you, and by you. Have you ever believed the curfe and threatening of the law, faying, "Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them?" Have you believed that with a Me, Me, faying, I am the man; I am the perfon; the finful, miferable, guilty perfon, that, by fin, am exposed to God's wrath; and, "What fhall I do to be faved?"
2. The time hath been, wherein the love and grace of God revealed in the gofpel, hath been applied particularly to you and by you, so far as to give you the hope of relief from the law-fentence of condemnation, and to draw your heart to a particular acceptance of Christ, as offered in the gofpel to you, for falvation from fin, and deliverance from the wrath to come. This imports the Me, Me, in the text, even though you have not been able, in exprefs terms, to fay it in the words of the apofile, He loved me, and gave himself for me.
3. Are the defects of this faith grievous to you? Is it. uneafy to you, That you cannot freely come out with the Me, Me? Do you find it matter of grief to you, that, thro' unbelief, you fhould fo much queftion his love to you; and matter of joy to you, when you get kindly views of him, and can fay with the apoflle, He loved me, and gave bimfelf for me? Know you what it is to believe his love, even when you do not feel it? that is, when you want the joyful fenfe of his love, yet, you hope in his word, and hang upon it, saying, 'I believe; Lord, help my unbelief?' This argues particular application of faith. Know you what it is, notwithstanding of the power and prevalence of fin, yet to maintain fome hope against hope, because his word endureth for ever, and his love endureth for ever; and therefore you are encouraged to return again and again to your first love? This imports and includes in it the heart, faying, He loved me, even though you dare not, with confidence, exprefs it,
4. Is your public religion founded upon perfonal religion? Public religion, and concern for the ark of God, and the work of God, and the caufe of Christ, and his truth, and reformation principles, is very proper and necessary in a day wherein truth is fallen in the ftreets. It is fit to appear for Chrift, efpecially, when princes and parliaments are against him; when courts and judicatories are against him; then we fhould cleave to him, and to thefe that are engaged in witnefling work for him. But yet, before our public religion can be probative, or evidential of our true love to Chrift, it will be founded upon perfonal religion; perfonal acquaintance with Chrift, perfonal concern about his love to you, and a particular faith of his love conftraining you to that appearance for him. Happy is the foul that can fay, He loved me, and gave himself for me; therefore, it becomes me to love him, his name, his truth, his caufe and intereft; and to give myself for him, to act and do for him, to fuffer for him; to fuffer fhame and reproach for him, to fuffer loffes, and croffes, and the fpoiling of my goods, if he call to it; yea, and death itself for him. A public religion of this fort, flowing from the faith of his love, is a practical faying, He loved me, and gave himself for me.
3dly, The doctrine may be applied by way of exhortation or addrefs: and our exhortation fhall be tendered both to unbelievers and faints.
[1.] We direct our exhortation to these who are unbelievers, and never came to make application of Christ to themselves, and are strangers to this appropriating faith. O Sinners! if you know yourfelf to be fo, and have any need of a Saviour, come to him by faith, applying him to yourself in particular, with a Me, Me, of fpecial appropriation. In order to this, I propofe two things to your confideration.
1. Confider, in what capacity you ought to view yourfelf, when applying this giving love of Christ with a Me, Me, to yourfelf in particular.
(1.) It is in view of your being a finner, that you are to make this application: for, "While we were yet finners, Chrift died for the ungodly; and, Chrift died to fave K 4