Page images

(3.) Practice: yielding up ourselves to the government of it, making it the standard and rule of your whole conversation. 6. We must be doers of the word, and not hearers only, Jest we deceive our own souls,', Jam. i. 22. 1 Pet. i. 22. Mat. vii. 22. 24. And in observing these scripture rules here laid down, in the careful and conscientious use of God's word after this manner, you may not doubt but the holy spirit of God will work with the word of God, to make it effectual to work this most precious grace of faith in us, whereby to believe in God and in Christ, to the consolation and eternal salvation of our souls. But if we neglect the means God hath ordained to get faith, and for want of it die in our sins, and perish eternally, our destruction will be of ourselves.

Direct. III. Thirdly, Would we have faith? Let us engage our whole souls in the deep and serious consideration of the infinite, unspeakable inconceivable love of God the father, in this, the highest and fullest demonstration of it, in giving his son, his only begotten son, to be a sin-offering, a sacrifice, à rapsom for poor sinners, and that for this very end and purpose, that we poor sinners might believe in him, and by believing, might not perish, but might have eternal life. I pray read and ponder upon the following texts, and let your most serious thoughts fix on them, and meditate on them, Isa. liii. throughout, John iji. 16, 17. Rom. iii. 25. Rom. v. 8, 10. Prov. viii. 30. Col. i. 12, 13. 2 Cor. v. 19, 20, 21. Rom. viii. 3. and viii. 32. with many other, which for brevity sake I cannot transcribe. If we can but believe this wonderful love of God the father, in giving his dear son to be a surety, a sin offering, to lay all our iniquities on him; that he was pleased to bruise him, and put him to grief for us; and consider and meditate upon the height and depth, the breadth and length of this immense, incomprehensible love of God in giving his son and that on purpose that we might believe in him, and by believing might have eternal life; I say, it will greatly help us to believe in his son, to accept of this his unspeakable gift, and to receive him as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Moreover, let us also consider of, and deeply meditate

the transcendent love of the son of God himself; who, though he were the delight of his father, and lay in the bosom of his father, even then his delights were with the sons of men, then was his heart full of love to poor sinners; and his love brought him down from heaven to earth, to assume human nature, to take upon him all the sins of his people, to bear them on his soul and body in the garden, there sweating great drops of blood, and on the cross there pouring out his heart blood, made a curse, endured the full measure of the wrath of God due for sin, and become the ransom of souls, Philip. ii. 6, 7, 8. Luke xxii. 44. Gal. ii. 20. He


loved us, and gave himself for us : “ Loved us and washed us from our sins in his blood,” Rev. i. 6. Pet. i. 18. 1 Pet. ii. 24. Gal. iii. 13. Tit. ii. 14.

But while I am writing these things I cannot but conceive an indignation against myself, and heartily wish, I were filled with shame, sorrow, and grief of spirit, that having read and heard so often of the surpassing love of God the father, in giving his son; and so often of the unspeakable love of Jesus, and to be no more affected with it, no more sensible of it, to have my affections no more stirred and moved, no more quickened and warmed ; Alas, my dead heart, my adamantine heart! Lord, sprinkle it with the blood, Lord, shed abroad that love of thine upon my heart abundantly by the Holy Ghost: Lord Jesus, manifest thy love to me, that I may love thee. I am ashamed and pained for want of love to God, to Jesus ; 0 that I could believe thy love to my soul, then I should not chuse but love thee. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. The consideration of this love of God, and of Christ, is a means to work faith, try it, I pray you, you will find it so.

Direct. IV. Fourthly, Improve and act the historical faith you have, on the doctrines, promises, and threatening in the gospel, which you profess you do believe. Act the faith you have on the doctrines of the gospel, the promises of rest for your souls, pardon for your sins, life and righteousness, grace and glory, made to those that believe in Christ, and to none else. Believe and think what heaven is, that state of infinite blessedness, in the seeing and enjoying the blessed God to all eternity. Believe what eternal life is, eternal glory; and believe also what hell is, separation from God; “ go ye cursed into everlasting fire ;" lakes of fire and brimstone, everlasting death, the wrath of God, damnation. And seeing you profess that you believe all this, then believe also and consider it well, that neither is heaven's infinite happiness to be attained, nor hell's unspeakable misery to be avoided, but only by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, John iii. 16, 17. 36. John viii. 24.

Direct. V. Fifthly, Would you have faith ; then seek it diligently ; pray, O pray for it as for your lives, cry mightily to God for it; pour out your hearts to God in prayer for it; pray continually for faith, pray without ceasing, be importunate with God for it, go all day and night panting and breathing after it, 0 that God would give me faith! Go to Jesus also for it, cry to him, for he is author as well as the object of it: Heb. xii, 1, 2. It is the gift of God, O pray for it.

Direct. VI. Lastly, Consider seriously, and often, how wonderful willing God is that you should believe in Christ, as you have heard; and how much he is displeased with those that will not believe in him; and how dreadfully he hath threatened them, as Rev. xxi. 8. Also consider how exceeding willing Jesus Christ himself is, that poor sinners should come to him, and believe in him ; how sweetly he calls them, how freely he offers himself, and all he is, to them be they never so bad, never so vile and wicked ; “ Ho, every one that thirsteth,” Isa. lv. 1. they that have no worthiness in them, nothing but sin and misery, John vi. 37. and vii. 37. Rev. iii. 18. and xxi. 11. O set your hearts to the consi. deration of the incomparable unparalleled love of Jesus, in dying that cursed death of the cross for sinners. Consider and meditate, hold your hearts to it, until your hearts be affected with his love, his love that passeth the love of women, love passing understanding : and consider how well he deserves, and how much he challengeth your love. Consider once again. what a most lovely person Jesus is, who is altogether lovely, the “ brightness of his father's glory, in whom dwells all fulness, Heb. j. 3. and in whom is all power in heaven and earth,” Matt. xxviii. 18. and labour to effect your hearts with his most admirable excellencies, and then come unto him weary and heavy laden with your sins, willing to part with them all; give up your whole selves to him, give him your whole hearts, and take him for


head and husband, for your only Lord and Saviour; enter actually into covenant with him, to become his, and his alone, and his for ever. Thus work out your salvation and your consolation, by believing

« PreviousContinue »