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ii. 13. Titus ii. 5. Heb. xiii. 7.) but also in the mouth of wicked enemies, when it is indeed the will of God which they reveal. And so David heard the curse of Shimei, speaking to him the rebukes of God, for his sin in the matter of Uriah; 2 Sam. xvi. 10, 11. And Paul rejoiced that Christ was preached by men of envy and strife, who did it to add affliction to his bonds; Phil. i. 18. Moses perceived the will of God in the counsel of Jethro, even in as great a matter as the governing and judging of the people; Exod. xviii. 19. The counsel of the ancients which Rehoboam forsook, was the counsel of God which he rejected; 1 Kings xii. 8. David blessed God for the counsel of a woman, Abigail. Whoever be the messenger, a believer should be acquainted with the voice of God, and know the true significations of his will. The true sheep of Christ do know his voice, and follow him, because they are acquainted with his word; and though the preacher be himself of a sinful life, he can distinguish between God and the preacher; and will not say, it is not the word of God, because it cometh from a wicked mouth. For he hath read Psal. 1. 16. where God saith to the wicked, "What hast thou to do to take my covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and hast cast my words behind thee:" but he never read to the godly, saith God, Why didst thou hear a wicked preacher?' He hath read, "The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' chair, hear them, but do not as they do:" but he never read, 'Hear none that live not according to their doctrine.' An unbeliever will not know Christ's word, if a Judas be the preacher of it; but a believer can read the commission of Judas, or at least can understand whose counsel he delivereth: and though he would be loath to choose a Judas, or to prefer him before a holy man ; yet if workers of iniquity do preach in Christ's name, he leaveth it to Christ to say at judgment," I know you not; "Matt. vii. 21, 22. Acts i. 17. 24.
Direct. 19. Faith must not look at God now and then, and leave the soul in ordinary forgetfulness of him; but remember that he is always present, and must make us rather forget them that are talking to us, or conversing with us, than to forget the Lord.'
Nothing is more the work of faith, than to see him who is invisible; Heb. xi. 27. And to live as one that still re
membereth that God standeth by: to think as one that knoweth that our thoughts are always in his sight, and to speak and do as one that forgetteth not, that he is the constant and most reverend witness of all. To hear, and pray, and live, and labour as if we saw the God who employeth us, and will reward us; Matt. vi. 4. 6. Isa. lix. 18. Rev. xx. 12. Matt. xvi. 27. Rom. ii. 6.
Direct. 20. Faith must lay the heart of man, to rest in the will of God, and to make it our chief delight to please him, and quietly to trust him whatever cometh to pass and to make nothing of all that would rise up against him, or entice us from him, or would be to us as in his stead.'
Faith seeth that it is the pleasing of the will of God, which is all our work, and all our reward: and that we should be fully pleased in the pleasing of him: and that there is no other rest for the soul to be thought on, but the will of God and it must content the soul in him alone; 2 Thess. i. 11. Col. iii. 20. 1 Cor. vii. 32. 1 Thess. iv. 1. 2 Tim. ii. 4. Heb. xi. 6. Matt. iii. 17. xvii. 5. Heb. xiii. 16. Psal. xvi. 5. lxxiii. 26. cxix. 57. cxlii. 5.
As God is often called jealous, especially over the heart of man; so faith must make us jealous of ourselves, and very watchful against every creature, which would become any part of the felicity or ultimate object of our souls. God is so great to a believing soul, that ease, and honour, and wealth, and pleasure, and all men high and low must be as dead and nothing to us, when they speak against him, or would be loved, or feared, or trusted, or obeyed before him, or above him. It is as natural to a true life of faith on God, to make nothing of the incroaching creature, as for our beholding the sun, to make nothing of a candle. And thus is faith our victory over the world; 1 John v. 4. Jer. xvii. 5. Isa. ii. 22. 1 Cor. xv. 28. Ephes. iv. 6. Col. iii. 11.
Directions how to Live by Faith on Jesus Christ.
So much is said already towards this in opening the grounds of faith, as will excuse me from being prolix in the rest:
and the following parts of the life of faith, are still supposed as subordinate to these two which go before.
Direct. 1. Keep still the true reasons of Christ's incarnation and mediation upon your mind (as they are before expressed) else Christ will not be known by you as Christ.' Therefore the Scriptures are much in declaring the reasons of Christ's coming into the world, as to be a sacrifice for sin, to declare God's love and mercy to sinners; to seek and to save that which was lost; to destroy devil, &c.; 1 Tim. i. 15. 1 John iii. 8. xix. 10.
Rom. v. 10. 1 John iii. 1.
the works of the Heb. ii. 14. Luke Gal. iv. 4. 6. &c.
Let this name or description of Christ be engraven as in capital letters upon your minds, 'THE ETERNAL WISDOM OF GOD INCARNATE TO REVEAL AND COMMUNICATE HIS WILL, HIS LOVE, HIS SPIRIT TO SINFUL, MISERABLE MAN.'
Direct. 2. See therefore that you join no conceit of Christ, which dishonoureth God, and is contrary to this character, and to God's design.'
Many by mistaking the doctrine of Christ's intercession, do think of God the Father, as one that is all wrath and justice, and unwilling of himself to be reconciled unto man: and of the second Person in the Trinity, as more gracious and merciful, whose mediation abateth the wrath of the Father, and with much ado maketh him willing to have mercy on us. Whereas it is the love of God which is the original of our redemption, and it was God's loving the world, which provoked him to give his Son to be their Redeemer; John iii. 16. Rom. viii. 32. "And God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing to them their trespasses;" 2 Cor. v. 19. And therefore we still read of Christ's reconciling man to God, and not the phrase of his reconciling God to man: not but that both are truly wrought by Christ's mediation (for the Scripture frequently speaketh of God's hating the workers of iniquity, and of his vindictive justice, and of that propitiating and atonement which signifieth the same thing); but the reason is, because the enmity began on man's part, and not on God's, by man's forsaking God, and turning his love from him to the creature, and not by God's forsaking man; and the change of man's state and heart towards God, by true reconciliation, will make him again capable of peace with God; and as
soon as man is made an object fit for the complacency of God, it cannot be but that God will again take complacency in him; so that the real change must be only on man; and then that relative or denominative change which must be on God, will thence immediately result.
Some also there be who gather from Christ's death, that God desired the sufferings of Christ as pleasing to him in itself; as if he made a bargain with Christ to sell so much mercy to man, for so much blood and pains of Christ; and as if he so delighted in the blood of the innocent, that he would the more willingly do good to us, if he might first forsake and crucify Christ. But this is to contradict Christ's business in the world, as if he who came from heaven to declare God's love, had come to declare him to delight in doing hurt; and as if he who came to demonstrate God's justice, had come to shew, that he had rather punish the innocent, than the guilty: but the case is quite otherwise : God doth not delight in man's sufferings as such; no, not of the guilty, much less of the innocent: he desired not Christ's suffering for itself; but as it was a convenient means, to demonstrate his justice, and his holiness, and to vindicate the honour of his government and law, and to be a warning to sinners, not to sin presumptuously; and yet to declare to them the greatness of his love.
And some are ready to gather from Christ's propitiation, that God is now more reconcilable to sin, and so they blaspheme him as if he were unholy: and as if he made a smaller matter of our misdoings, since he is satisfied for them by a Mediator. And they are ready to gather, that God can now take complacency in man, though he have no inherent holiness at all, because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to him. And some take God's imputation of Christ's righteousness to us, to be a reputing us to be the persons, who ourselves fulfilled the law in or by Christ; so that his very attributes of wisdom, and love, and holiness, and justice, and mercy, &c. which Christ came purposely to declare, are by some denied, blasphemed or abused, on pretence of extolling Christ and our redemption; as if we might sin that grace may abound; Rom. vi. 1, 2. "But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid;" Gal. ii. 17.
Direct. 3. Distinguish between the common and the special benefits of man's redemption by Christ; and see how the latter do suppose the former; and set not these parts against each other, which God in wisdom hath joined together.'
To pass by all other the great and notable common benefit, is the conditional covenant of grace; or the conditional pardon of sin, and gift of eternal life to all without exception; John iii. 16. Mark xvi. 15, 16. Rom. x. 9. Matt. vi. 14, 15. xxii. 7-9. And this general conditional promise must be first preached; and the preaching of this is the universal or common call and offer of grace: and it must be first believed, as is before said. But the actual belief of it, according to its true intent and meaning, doth prove our actual personal title to all the benefits which were before given but conditionally; John iii. 16. 1 John v. 10-12. 2 Cor. v. 19-21.
Direct. 4. Accordingly judge how far redemption is common or special, by the common and special benefits procured.' For no man can deny but it is so far common, as the benefits are common: that is, so far as to procure and give to sinners a common conditional pardon as aforesaid (as Dr. Twisse very often taketh notice). And no man can affirm, that it is common to all, so far as absolutely or eventually to give them actual pardon and salvation, unless they dream that all are saved. But that some eventually and infallibly are saved all confess: and we had rather think that Christ and the good pleasure of God, is the chief differencing cause, than we ourselves.
Direct. 5. Set not the several parts of the office of Christ against each other; nor either depress or forget any one part, while you magnify and meditate only on the other.'
It is most ordinary to reduce all the office of Christ, to the prophetical, priestly, and kingly part. (For it is more proper to call them three parts of one office, than three offices :) but it is hard to reduce his incarnation, or his infanthumiliation, and his whole course of obedience, and fulfilling the law to any one, or all of these, totally. Though in some respect, as it is his example, it is teaching, and as it is part of his humiliation, it may be called a part of his sacrifice; yet as it is meritorious, obedience and perfection, it belongeth indeed to our high-priest, but not formally to