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unshaken acts of faith, that Jefus Chrift did out of fove-I reign grace love us in particular, and that in pursuit of this love he has washed us in his blood, to make us lovely and meet for himself! This is love to be adored and celebrated in time and to eternity.
This fpecial love of Chrift is not only to be confidered by us in this fpecial acting of faith, as free and undeferved, but it is to be confidered as invincible, that would break through all oppofitions, or whatever flood. in the way, that nothing fhould hinder or turn him afide in his defign of doing good to our fouls. It is a glorious pitch that the fpoufe rifes to in Cant. viii. 7. "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it if a man would give all the fubftance of his houfe for love, it would utterly be contemned;" speaking of her own love to Chrift; nothing could quench, nothing could drown it, nothing could make a purchase of it from her, but her love was invincible and would carry her through all difficulties. O how much more was the love of Chrift! for our love, being once fixed on Chrift, meets with no difficulties of that nature, that the love of Chrift met withal when it was fixed on us. What did the love of Chrift meet with when it was fixed on us? that we must take along with us, viz. the "curfe of the law" was the first thing that prefented itfelf to him: "The foul that finneth fhall die. Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." That he was to "make his foul an offering for fin," was prefented to him. We are to look on this love of Chrift as fovereign and free, and with a design of making our fouls lovely; to invincible also, that it broke up the eternal obftacles, that nothing could ftand before it, until it had accomplished his whole work and defign: "Who loved me, and gave himfelf for me.”
I fpeak on this manner, and of these things, to encourage and direct the weakest and most unfkilful in the myfteries of the gospel, to inftruct them in the exercise of faith in this ordinance; and therefore, I fay, that as this fpecial faith (which I proved to you to be our duty in this ordinance), is to refpect the love of Chrift, so it is to respect more especially the peculiar acting of the
love of Chrift, whereby he "gave himfelf for us.” Gave himself! how is that? Truly thus, brethren; the Lord help me to believe it, that I ftood before the judgment feat of God, charged with my origninal apoftacy from him, and with all the fins of my life multiplied above the hairs of my head, and being ready to perish, to have the fentence pronounced against me; then Chrift came and stood in my place, putting the finner afide, and undertaking to anfwer this matter; "Let the poor fin"ner ftand afide a while; come enter into reft, abide "here in the clift of the rock; I will undertake thy "caufe, and plead it out at God's judgment-feat.” In this undertaking, God "fpared him not:" as if God fhould fay, If you will ftand in the place of the finner, and undertake his cause, then it must go with you as with him; I will not spare. "Lo, I come, (fays Christ, notwithitanding this), to do thy will, O God:" whatever thou doft require to make good this cause I have efpou. fed, lo, I come to do it.
So Chrift loved me, and gave himself for me. Everlafting rest and peace will dwell upon our fouls, if the Lord will be pleased, to help us to exercise faith on Chrift's love in this ordinance, wherein all these things are represented to us.
June 11. 1676.
GAL. ii. 20.
I am crucified with Chrift: Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Chrift liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himfelf for me.
HE apoftle in this place is expreffing the vigour, and indeed the triumph of the life of faith, "Ne
vertheless I live." To fhew the excellency of that life, fays he, "Yet not I, but Chrift liveth in me," &c. That which I would to our purpose obferve from these words. is this, That the exercife of faith on the death of Chrift ("who loved me, and gave himself for me,") is the ve ry life of faith. This is what we are now called to, to the exercise of faith on the death of Chrift; and I cannot more recommend it to you than by this obfervation, to fhew that the life of faith does greatly consist in this peculiar exercife of it upon the death of Chrift. And that,
1. Because Chrift in his death, as the ordinance of God for the falvation of believing finners, is the proper and peculiar object of faith, as it juftifies and faves. Now when faith is in its exercife upon its direct immediate proper object, it is like a perfon that is feeding on his proper food, which gives refreshment, fpirits and ftrength; for faith and its object are in Scripture fet out as an appetite and food; and especially it is fo reprefented to us in this ordinance, where the fpiritual food of our fouls is conveyed to our faith under the fymbol and reprefentation of food to our bodies, which we eat and drink. Therefore, brethren, our faith is in its proper place, it is about its proper work, it is directing the foul. to its fpecial food, when it is exercised about the death of Chrift, as the ordinance of God for the falvation of finners.
2. As the death of Chrift is thus the immediate and direct object of our faith, for God has "fet him forth as a propitiation for fin, through faith in his blood," which is the proper object of faith as it juftifies; fo the ultimate and fupreme object of our faith is, the properties of God as manifefted and glorified in the death of Christ; that you fhall fee how faith has its plain and full work in coming to this, "who loved me and gave himfelf for me." The properties of God are God himself; the properties of God as manifefted and glorified, are God's name; and God himfelf and his name are the fupreme and ultimate object of our faith and truft. All the inquiry then is, What fpecial properties of the nature of God, God did defign to manifeft and glorify in the death of Christ, so as we should make them the fpe
cial ultimate object of our faith, that which faith will find reft and fatisfaction in, and wherein it will give glory to God? For the reason why God has made faith the alone instrument, and no other grace, of justification, and fo of falvation, is not because it is so fitted and fuited to receive in us, as that it is the only grace whereby we give glory to God, and can do fo.
Now let us fee, that we may know how to exercise faith therein, what are thofe properties of the divine nature which God defigns to manifeft and glorify in the death of Chrift, that our faith may stand in, and be fixed upon them. I find feveral things that God diftinctly proposes of his divine excellency, for our faith to fix upon in the death of Christ.
(1.) His righteoufnefs. Rom. iii. 25. "Whom God hath fet forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteoufnefs." I fhall not fhew how, or wherein; but to me, this it is that manifefts his righteoufnefs in granting forgiveness of fin in the death of Chrift, in that he caufed all our iniquities to meet upon him. Remember, brethren, we are here to give God the glory he defigned to himself in fending Chrift to die for us; and he tells us plainly what it was, and therefore it is expected of us, that we should give glory to him. Let us labour to be in the actual exercife of faith, whereby we may declare the righteousness of God in this thing.
(2.) God defigned to glorify his love. This is more particularly infifted on than any property of God in this matter. "God fo loved the world, as to fend his only begotten Son. God commended his love unto us, in that, when we were yet finners, Chrift died for us. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and fent his Son to be the propitiation for our fins.” There is no property of the nature of God which he doth fo eminently defign to glorify in the death of Chrift, as his love. That we may know that "God is love; that the Father himself loves us ;" he has fent Jefus Chrift out of his eternal love to fave finners; and if we have not due apprehenfions of these things, it is not our appearing in this place that will give glory to God.
(3.) God does defign to glorify his grace or pardoning mercy, Eph. i. 6. " He hath made us accepted in the beloved, to the praise of the glory of his grace." This God purposed, to make his grace in pardoning finners very glorious by giving Chrift to die for
(4.) God defigned to glorify his wifdom. Eph. i.. 8. "He has abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence." Eph. iii. 10. there appeared the manifold wifdom of God. I Cor. i. 24. "Chrift the power of God,
and the wisdom of God."
Now let us gather up thefe things. The fpecial ultimate act of faith whereby we are juftified, are thofe divine properties of God's nature which he defigned to manifeft in the death of Chrift, his righteoufnefs, his love, his grace, his wisdom.
The reafon therefore why the life of faith does confift in its exercise on the death of Chrift, is, because the death of Chrift is the immediate proper object of faith, as the ordinance of God for the falvation of finners; and because the glorious properties of the nature of God, which are manifested in the death of Christ, are the ultimate object of our faith, wherein we give glory to him, and find reft to our own fouls.
Let us then be called on and be ftirred up to this exercife of faith upon this prefent occafion. And to that end,
1. We might confider the deplorable condition of all our fouls without this bleffed provifion, and ordinance of God for our deliverance by the death of Chrift. We had been in a deplorable condition, the wrath of God abiding on us, had not God made this a bleffed way for our deliverance.
2. If you would be found acting faith in this matter, labour to come up to a firm, vigorous affent of your minds, not only that these things are true, but that this is the way wherein God will be glorified to eternity. The truth of it is, that person who is firmly fatisfied, and heartily pleafed, that this way of the death of Christ for the falvation of finners by the forgivenefs of fin, is the way whereby God is, and will be glorified, I fay, that perfon is a true believer. Now let not your affent be