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among the rapists, some of them) concerning theoretical, (2.) With complacency; that love that hath heightened knowledge, wherein they place the sum of all religion, that itself into a complacential joy thereupon. Do I believe it doth tangere intangibiliter, it touches the mind as if it this Jesus to be ihc Christ? O! how can a pleasant joy never touched it; indeed this is the deceiving belief of the be thereupon but spread in my soul! As we find it was multitude, they have a belief that so toucheth their minds when this belief first began to obtain concerning him, John that it cannot be perceived it ever touched it, it never i. 35. We read, that the two disciples of John having retouched their minds at all, but leaves them unimpressed; ceived the account, and being saiisfied concerning this there is no signature left behind, no mark, no character, blessed one, having had John's testimony, that he bare reby which it can be said such a faith was ever there. That cord that he upon whom ye shall see the Spirit of God is, notwithstanding all the belief they pretend to concern- descending like a dove is the Son of God;" he having seen ing this Jesus, and concerning the great things of the this satisfactory sight, and acquainting the other two of his Christian religion, (whereof this is the sum,) their hearts disciples, they run away with it. Oh we have found the are as dead, as cold, as terrene, as unaffected, as if they Messiah, who by interpretation is the Christ; so say they had never heard of any such thing, void of all kind of im- in transport. What a joy were these good men in, and pression. Dost thou believe Jesus to be the Christ, and how did it diffuse and spread among others! They run retain a hard heart, a dead heart, a stupid heart, touched and tell others, Oh we have found Jesus, the Messiah, the with nothing, having no sense, no feeling of any thing that Christ. It flies like lightning from one to another, every this great truth carries so plain a signification of in it ? | one being the ready instrument to convey the pleasant noWhat doth this Jesus being the Christ signify? It plainly tice which they had got concerning this great ihing. The signifies the lost, undone state of souls, the miserable con- joyful Evonka runs from mouth to mouth, and from ear 10 dition of men in this world, that there needed such a Jesus, ear, and from heart to heart. Eipnka, Evonka, saith one to such a Christ to descend and come down from heaven with another, we have found, we have found the Messiah, the such fulness and divine power. When a man can believe Christ. Have we indeed found him ? Is it found among Jesus to be the Christ, (as he said he doth,) but it never us that this Jesus is the Christ? O, what multitudes of moves his soul one way or other; his faith makes no more transported souls would there be among us! For it is no impression upon him than if he had never believed or excuse that this is no novelty among us: for it is a thing heard of such a thing, or than if he had believed the quite that never ought to grow old. As he is the way of return. contrary. Be no more affected with Christ by believing ing sinners to God, that is always new and always living. him to be the Christ, than if he had believed him to be a It is a reproach to us to say that the notion is grown stale deceiver and an impostor; his heart as little touched or among us, of Jesus being the Christ. Instead of being moved with any suitable, correspondent impression of such grown old, it is grown to nothing, dwindled away to nca belief of his being the Christ, as if he had never heard thing. It looks but like a notion without any thing at the of any such thing, or had believed concerning him the bottom, that we seem to account hath nothing of reality in quite contrary. Will we call this believing Jesus to be the it; from our apprehensiveness of the state of the case, Christ with a Gospel faith?
and what the design of Heaven was in constituting such On the other hand, the sincere belief of this, that Jesus a one in that high and sacred office that is notified by the is the Christ; it worketh through and through a man's name Christ, it is thus become such a notion. But, what? sonl- works down into every power and faculty. It is a are not the necessities free and urgent upon us every day faith that hath spirit in it, that penetrates and spreads it for which we did need a Christ? Nay, can we go to God self into all the regions of a man's soul; as we read of a without him? And can we live comfortably in this world spirit of faith, 2 Cor. iv. 13. “We having the same spirit without God? Nay, can we draw a breath without him? of faith,” (speaking of what had been said by David many Are not all things delivered up into his hand? And is not an age before,) what doth that signify when he quotes him he constituted Lord of all? By the same thing by which professing faith in reference to such a thing so long ago: we would pretend the commonness of this belief, and the and the apostle now resumes the matter, and saith, “ We ancientness of it, as a reason why it affeets no more, ve have the same spirit of faith." It signifies that faith, where-do (as it were) proclaim the nullity of it, that it doth but soever it hath been sincere and true, even in the most dis- | only signify liitle with us, but it signifies nothing; it is an tant times and ages, that may be supposed it is a spirit of unoperative thing; and to be a dead thing in this kind is faiih, or it is a faith full of spirit. Sincere faith is a spi- to be nothing: as a dead man or the carcass of a man is ritual thing, a thing that carries life, and spirit, and power equivalent to no man, and so is that faith in the apostle with it, wherever it is. Pray let us not deceive ourselves James's phrase) which is unoperative and works not, dead about this. They are mighty affections, which the belief also. This faith that doth not affect the heart is but as a of such a thing as this must excite and raise in those souls carcass without a spirit, which is for no valuable purpose in whom it truly is; especially those two most correspond and use to be reckoned otherwise of than a mere unformed ent unto the person concerning whom we have this belief, piece of clay. An informed piece of clay signifies as much that he is the Christ; to wit, reverence and love, and espe- for any valuable purpose as that which is formed into the cially that love which rises unto delight and high compla- shape of a human body where there is no spirit, and when cency, the joy taken in him of whom we have this appre it is but a breathless thing. hension or this belief.
This of the operativeness and efficacy of this belief in (1.) Reverence. This belief concerning Jesus, that he is contradistinciion to the dead cold faith of the multitude in the Christ, it fills the sincere believer with the profoundest this matter, leads to what is yet further and more deeply reverence of him ; so that he falls before him, saying, to be considered concerning it; and that is, the residence " My Lord and my God," John xx. 28. He is acknow-which this faith hath in the will: for, being so efficacious ledged in his glorious greatness when any do sincerely a thing, it works itself into a government, a regency, 2 believe this concerning him; he is beheld as on the throne; ruling power, into that which is the imperial faculty of the he is considered as one that having purged our sins is soul; to wit, the will, there it comes to have a thrcne ascended and sitten down at the right hand of the Majesty erected, or rather there it doth enthrone Christ, so as that on high. It is a great thing to have this belief concerning he comes to be exalted in a subject-will, and is aciually him, answerably forming a man's spirit into adoring pos- entertained there according to that discovery the Gospel tures. He is now great in our eyes; a glorious one; one makes of him. And so next to this persuasion of the mind, that we think it profane ever to look towards but with ve- which is to be distinguished from that which carries with neration. We dare not lift an cye towards him but with multitudes the same deceiving, insignificant name—I say, an adoring soul. O! my great, glorious, and exalted besides and next to that persuasion or assent of the mind, Lord. This is he whom God hath exalted to be a Prince there is a compliance of the will that belongs to the essence and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins. of this faith. We believe this Jesus to be the Christ, so as Him whom he hath sealed, to whom he hath given power to will him accordingly; or by our will to entertain him over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many in a correspondent adinission unto the design of the reveas God hath given him. With such a reverence must this lation. We acknowledge him, we own him suitably acbelief be accompanied concerning this Jesus, that he is the cording to the import of this name Christ. Christ. And then,
I then, again, to believe in Christ, or to believe into Christ, SERMON XLI."
(as the prepositions used signify,) to believe into a union with him, in opposition to the formalists, or pseudo Chris
tians, the mere nominal Christians, that can believe (or 1 John v. 1.
say they do) against pagans, that there is or must be a
Christ; or against the Jews, that this is he, but never beWhosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. lieve into him for all that, so as to close with him, as my
Christ; unite with him, admit him into my heart and soul, I SHALL now go on to clear the efficacy of this faith, so as that he comes to have his throne, not only his dwell. which, it it be right and such as it ought to be, will diffuse ing, but his seat of government in my very will; as the a mighty and efficacious influence through the whole soul. will is the governing faculty in the soul, Christ is the goIt will be as a great vital spring in the heart, that sets all vernor, the ruler there in ihat seat of government. So the wheels in motion, and acteth every faculty and power. (God knows) he is believed in but by few even of them But its next and more immediate operation must be upon that bear his name, and call themselves Christians. We the will. So doth this belief,(as it were) transire, pass over are as much concerned to have a faith concerning this from the mind into the heart, into the very centre, and Jesus, that he is the Christ, in opposition to formalists and therein especially and most principally the will, which is nominal Christians, as we are to have a faith in this matthe chief thing that goes under the name of the heart in ter, in opposition to pagans and Jews: for it is all one how Scripture phrase. Its great effect is, that the will is pro- we perish, whether we perish under the name of pagans, portionably framed, inclined, bowed, made to comply, or Jews, or false Christians, that never had the power or according to this discovery and revelation that is made of spirit of faith in Christ in them. so great and glorious an object; one in whom the soul hath And so much of this consent of faith in general. But so near and great a concern-" The Christ of God," as he more particularly, it carries (as I said these two things in is called. This is the representation that is made in the it, reception and resignation : reception of him, and resigmind, this Jesus is the Christ. "Whom say ye that I nation of ourselves to himn. There is in that faith, that am ?" Peter answers, (Luke ix. 20.) “ Thou art the Christ will avail us unto salvation, taking and giving at the same of God.” Such a truth as this cannot be received aright time, complicated with one another. When we give we into the soul, but it must turn the whole soul, and especially take, when we take we give. When we take him, we at the governing faculty, the will, so as that it shall be in the same time consent that we will be his, and that he shall clined and bowed to him accordingly. For it is never to be ours. This constitutes the covenant between him and be thought that there should such a revelation be made, us. And considering that he is to be covenanted with but not only in the Gospel, but in the mind, concerning this as a Mediator, as Mediator of the Gospel, and that through Jesus, that he is the Christ, but it is in order to some him we finally and ultimately covenant with God, accordfurther purpose. He is not so revealed to be gazeding to that, “ ye believe in God, believe also in me:' you upon, to be looked upon, but that the soul should be acted inust believe me in your way to God. Why it is this that towards him and be carried towards him, according to that doth make up the entire covenant between God and us in revelation and belief. Therefore the great effect that is Christ. We accept him, and God in him; we give ourwrought by such an efficacious belief, is, the will's consent selves to him, and to God through him. This is consumthat he shall be such to me, as this name (Christ) doth mate faith, as you will see more, when we have (as we inimport; I consent to it, that he shall be Christ to my soul, tend) opened further to you what it comprehends. and that consent takes in two things, reception and resig | And ihal we may more clearly and distinctly apprehend nation. These two things I shall distinctly open to you, that, there are several things yet more particularly to be reception of him, and resignation of ourselves to him. spoken to; to wit, to let you know that this same faith
But consider we first what is more general here. This concerning Jesus as the Christ, must carry consenting act of the will, how that is the consummation 1. Suitable apprehensions concerning ourselves and conof faith; this is faith perfected. The bare assent or belief, cerning him. that this is he, is inchoate faith, faith begun, faith tending! 2. It includes in it some correspondent actings yet furto its end and perfection; but this is faith in its end. The ther to be considered. o:her is faith moving towards Christ, this is faith resiing in 3. It must be attended with some suitable qualifying Christ. It is the acquiescence of faith by which he comes adjuncts. And, to have an inbeing in the soul, and the soul hath a 4. It must be attended with some concomitant disposipossession of him. He dwells in the heart by faith. It is tions and affections that are proper hereunto. by faith, thus considered, that he comes to dwell even in 1. It must have with it suitable apprehensions both of the very heart, in the centre, as the expression is, Eph. iii. ourselves and him: for you see here is the most immediate 17. The soul hath possession of him, and is said to have transactions in this matter imaginable between us and him, him; “ He that hath the Son, hath life," as in the 12ih when we are to accept him, and resign ourselves to him. verse of this chapter. This is the unitive act of faith, by Here must be then necessarily suitable apprehensions both which the soul closeth and falls in with him, as in the 20th of ourselves and of him. verse of this chapter. He hath given us an understanding. (1.) Of ourselves. When one goes upon such a trans(there's faith in the mind, a right belief or apprehension of action as this with Jesus as the Christ, I must consider him) to know him that is true, and we are in him that is with myself what I am, and what my state is. And, what true, even in his Son Jesus Christ, who is the true God and am I, upon my most serious and inquiring thoughts ? eternal life.
Why, There are considerable the same gradations in faith, as nj I find myself a creature under obligation to be it relates to Christ, as there are commonly observed to be governed by him that made me; and who shall be further in faith as it relates to God, that is, Credere Deum, crederc obliged hereunto, if he that made all will further be saDeo, and credere in Deum. To believe that there is a God; vourable to me. to believe God speaking to us in his word, revealing (2.) I must understand myself to be a miserable creaihis or that to us; and to believe in God or into God: to ture. It is as such I must have to do with this Jesus as wit, to unite with him as our God, take him for our God. the Christ. An undone creature, a lost creature. I do The same gradation is in faith as to Christ: you “believe but touch upon these things. in God, believe also in me." There is a credere Christum, [3.) I must consider myself an offending creature, as one credere Christo, and credere in Christum. To believe, first, that am miserable by my having broken laws and rules, that there is a Christ, in opposition to the pagan world, and who that way have brought myself under guilt. A that never thought of any such thing. Then to believe him miserable creature, without the apprehension of being a to be revealing himself to be he, “I am he,” (if ye believe guilty creature, is an insolent and proud creature. I am not that I am he,) in opposition to the Jews, who indeed miserable, but I am faultless. If any should bear that believed that there should be a Christ, that there must be sense with them, they can have nothing to do with Christ, a Messiah ; but who did not believe that this was he. And he is nothing to them. And,
Preached April 15th, 1694.
14.1 I must apprehend myself to be a depraved creature, both of ourselves and of him in this transaction, otherwise habitually depraved; destitute of any good principles, all will turn to nothing. And again, either of duly towards God, or that have any tendency to 2. There must be suitable included acts, even in those felicity for myself. And I am under the possession and of receiving him and resigning ourselves. First, there power of the most pernicions, radical principles of all must be the act of trust : and, secondly, the act of subjeciniquity and injuriousness towards God, and misery to tion: otherwise we do not receive him, and resign ourmyself. So I must apprehend the state of my case when I selves to him, suitably to the apprehensions that are given apply myself, and when my soul moves towards this Jesus to us of that object. When we do receive him, how do we as the Christ. And,
receive him? We receive him as Christ Jesus the Lord, (2.) I must have suitable apprehensions of him too; here Col. ij. 6. You receive Christ, (that is, the name of his I am to consent to accept of him for mine, to resign myself office, that we are to believe Jesus to be invested with,) to him as his. Both these, reception and resignation, do the anointed one of God. But what is he anointed to, require that I should have suitable apprehensions of him; or what is he anointed for? To be to us both Jesus and that is
the Lord Jesus is a Saviour, Lord is an owner and roler. (1.) I must consider his original power over me, as he It cannot be, then, but that our receiving him, and our reis the beginning of the creation of God; "as by him all signing ourselves to him, must comprehend in them, things were made, visible and invisible," Col. i. 15, 16. As (1.) Trust, an absolute trust. When we receive him, by whom God made the worlds, Heb. i. 2. As originally we receive him as one in whom we trust; and when we invested with a sovereign, governing power, which, because resign ourselves to him, we resign ourselves as committing it was original and natural to him, can never be lost, more ourselves, in trusting ourselves. We receive him under than the Godhead. He is the Lord my maker, whom I the pleasant notion of a Saviour, and so we resign ouram to receive, and unto whom I am to resign. And, selves to him, to be saved by hjin, confiding in his saving
(2.) I must consider him as a constituted Ruler. So he mercy, encouraged by his word," “ Whosoever comelh is as Mediator. Consider him abstractedly, as he was the unto me I will in no wise cast out." I will cast myself eternal Son of God, so he hath a natural power of govern- upon him, without any suspicion that he will ever cast me ment over all. But as he is Mediator, God-man, he is a out; he will ever be as good as bis word. Who ever did Governor too by constitution. All power is given him veniure upon him, and perish? I will thrcw myself into both in heaven and earth. The Father hath given all those sale arms. This is included both in receiving and things into his hand, John xiii. 3. “Thou hast given him resigning; for I receive him as a Savionr, as Christ Jesus; power over all fesh, that he should give eternal life to as and I resign myself to him, I commit, I intrust, I can credit many as God hath given him," John xvii. 2. So I must myself to him accordingly as such. And then, apprehend and conceive of him.
(2.) As both these together do carry in them trust, so they 13.) I must conceive of him as a Saviour; and thereupon carry in them subjection; there is not only committing as a Redeemer, as a Reconciler, that was to save, by re- ourselves, but there is also submitting ourselves. We deeming and reconciling perishing, lost, guilty creatures, commit, and submit, and subject ourselves to him at the to an offended God. This is the apprehension one must same time; for he is received as Christ Jesus the Lord, have in consenting to him. And ihe soul that hath believed and according as the Gospel represents him. “ For all the aright that this Jesus is the Christ, it will be full of this house of Israel know, that God hath made him both Lord sense in this transaction : Aye, this is just such a one as I and Christ." Acis ii. 36. This must go for a known thing need; for I find myself miserable, I find myself lost, I find all Israel over, and all the world over, wherever he comes myself undone, by my having offended, and involved my- to be revealed; " That God haih made bim both Lord self in guilt, against my sovereign, rightful Lord. There and Christ. And him haih he exalted to be a Prince ard can never be any reception of him, or resignation to him, a Saviour, (Acts v. 31.) to give repentance and remission without this. And,
of sins." Repentance, wherein we humble ourselves tc14.) He must be understood and apprehended as a vital fore him as a Prince, prostrate ourselves, throw ourselves head, replenished with spirit and holy influence; so as down at the footstool of his throne; and reinission of sins, that all that shall come into holy union with him, shall which he gives as a Saviour. Now are all sins forgiven to thereby derive spirit, and life, and grace, and holy influence you, go away and be whole, you are accepted, you are parfrom him: the ihing which the exigency of the case so doned. Your scores are taken off; all things set right bemuch calls for, as we are creatures so miserably depraved, tween him and you. God hath exalted him to be a prince, and dead in trespasses and sins, disinclined to the doing and so he humbles and gives repentance; and as a Saand enjoying good in point of felicity. Such a one I need; viour be forgives you. These are ihe acts correspondent to and so I must consider Christ as one given to be “the this iwo-fold notion. Not that the one is any cause of the head of all things to the church," Ephes. i. 22. He hath other, or signifies anything for the obtaining of them. But a universal political headship over all. But a vital head- these are conjunct ihings by divine constitution and the ship over the church, (to wit, that is truly such,) that is, his exigency of the case itsell. As a Prince, he humbles them body, his living body. And such a one must the soul, to rerentance: and as a Saviour, hc forgives them, wipes that is treating and transacting with him, apprehend him of all scores, takes off their guilt, and sets all things righi to be cven in this closure, this unitive closure; I am a belveen God and them. We here must then be at once most wretched, deformed, depraved creature ; I believe both trusting in him as a Saviour, and subjecting ourselves this Jesus to be the Christ, I believe it belongs to the to him as a Prince; devoting and dedicating ourselves, so office of this same Christ to be the fountain and spring of as determining henceforth not to live to ourselves; no, life and renovating grace to poor souls that shall come into but to him that died for us, and rose again. This is the union with him : and I come unto him as such, I receive judgment of a soul brought under the consiraint of the him as such, and resign myself to him as such. Every one love of Christ, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. So that hereupon this that is in Christ is a new creatore. I need to be new becomes the sense of the soul, “For me to live is Christ, made throughout, new created ; I am lost and undone for and to die is gain," Phil. i. 20. While I live, I have no ever if I be not so; I come to hin, un:o this union with business to do but for Christ; my gain comes to me when him, to be made anew throughout, according to that, 2 I die-then I gain him. In the mean time, the business Cor. v. 17. and that, Ephes. ii. 10. “We are his workman- of my life is Christ, to live up Christ, live up his interest, ship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." He is a new serve him as a devoted one. My life is sacred to Christ, plastes; we had a miserable protoplast; we have another a hallowed and devoted thing. This is receiving and former now, a reformer. Christ is to be formed in us, his reigning, as comprehending acts suitable to the state of own image is to be formed in our hearts. He himself can the case to what he is, and what we are. We are not to only form his image, and draw it upon us: and that is our think of receiving and resigning blindly, and in the dark, and business with him. And blessedness itself can never make as those that know not for what; but upon such accounts, uis blessed, if we be not made new, if we be not made over and with such actions of heart and soul as these, committing again, anoiher sort of creatures than we were before. Thus I and submitting ourselves most absolutely to him. And, there must be in this belier (as it comprehends our recep- - 3. Here must be some qualifying adjuncts of these acts tion of him and resignation to him) suitable apprehensions of receiving and resigning, especially these two, totality and vitality. It inay be, you will remember them the ing this Jesus that he is the Christ? Why should it be rebetter for the sound's sake. But they are expressions that vealed ? Why should it be declared ? why am I required speak the importance of the thing more plainly than any to believe it? to be persuaded in iny heart of the truth other can that occurs to my thoughts.
hereof? Can it be for any end, but that my soul may be (1.) There must be totality with these acts of the one brought into a vital, unitive closure with him hereupon ? part and the other, to wit, with reference to the object, and If it doth not effect this, it effects nothing. It is from hence with relerence to the subject. Consider the act of recep- my Christianity commenceth. It is but now that I become lion with reference to the object, we are to receive a whole a Christian, any thing besides a name. When my soul Christ ; consider the act of resignation with respect to the passeth into this union with him by consen!, by reception, subject, and we are to resign our whole selves. Reception by resignation, now I become a Christian, now I am in must be with totality, a reception of a whole Christ; re- Christ, now the spirit of faith hath exerted its power in signation must be with totality, a resignation of our whole my soul, without which there is no believing. "We havselves. To take Christ but by halves, will not do the ing the same spirit of faith, believe," 2 Cor. iv. 13. There business; to resign ourselves but by halves, will not do can be no faith to purpose without a spirit of faith. Here the business neither. To take Christ only to serve a turn, doth the spirit of faith exert itself, and so it is but now that he may save me from wrath, without renewing my that I do begin to be a Christian ; for he that hath not the Datore, and bringing me into a union and communion spirit of Christ is none of his, he is no Christian ; let him with himself and with God through him; this will not be called what he will, let men call him what they please, do; neither will it do for me to resign myself, and not my he is none of Christ's. And what, will my Christianity whole self, my whole soul. Will it content any one to without a Christ save me, or do me any good ? To have a be saved by halves, to be half saved, and half lost, if this Christless Christianity, what shall I be the better for that? were possible? But then,
And it is indeed not only a nullity as to myself; but it (2.) There must be vitality as to both these, as well as is an affront and provocation to God and Christ, if in betotality. There must be vital reception, and vital resig- lieving and assenting to this truth, that Jesus is the Christ, nation ; life must accompany these acts. “He that halh my soul do not hereupon unite and close with him ; for the Son haih life," as it is afterwards, ver. 12. of this it is a refusing him in the face of light. It is a refusing chapter. I must so take him and receive him, as that, by him, when I know and profess to know who he is. I a vital act of my will, I become united with him as with profess this Jesus to be the Christ, and yet my soul stands a living thing; for I find new life hath entered into my out against him. For I must be either a consenter or resoul. I must so resign myself to him that life may go into fuser. To refuse him when I know who he is, when I ihai ac! of resignation. “Yield yourselves unto the Lord profess to believe who he is, this is higher wickedness as those that are alive unto God. And reckon yourselves ihan the Jews were guilty of when they crucified him; dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus for if they had known him to be the Lord of glory, they Christ," Rom. vi. 11, 13. There must be life springing in would not have crucified him. But I know this Jesus is my soul towards God and through Jesus Christ. The cold, the Christ, yet I will him not. "You will not come to dead indifferency and aversion towards God is gone, and me, that you may have life.” Here is a knowing and with the spirit of faith a spirit of life enters. And so denying at once. “He that denieth the Son, hath not when I come to give myself up, it is not as a dead thing. I the Father," 1 John ii. 23. But he that doth acknow"Oifer up yourselves living sacrifices, acceptable unto God ledge that ihis Jesus is the Christ, haih the Father and through Jesus Christ," Rom. xii. 1. But ihen,
the Son both together. If it be vitally acknowledged, so 4. There must be suitable concomitant affections, espe- as that the soul pass hereby into union with both, then he cially these two, reverence and joy.
hath both. (1.) Reverence. Whom do I receive ? and to whom do I hope we speak and hear of these things with a design I resign ? The great and glorious Lord of all. Think to be and do accordingly, otherwise here is time the most what this name (Christ) doh import. The Christ of God, unhappily thrown away that could have been. We had as you heard. He to whom all power is given in heaven been better treating of any trivial subject, if such a thing and earth. When I receive him, how great a one is now as this should have been spoken or been attended to slightly, to enter my soul! This sense is now to possess it, “ List and with neglect. All lies upon this, depends upon this: op your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlast- all for our present comfort in this life here in this world, ing doors, for the King of glory is entering in.” He is to and our future happy blessed life in the other world. come and take up his dwelling in my soul by faith, as in the 21th Psalm, latter end. It must be with a prostrate soul that I am to receive him; let the everlasting doors ly open : here is a mighty one to come, him, the Lord of glory. Lord, I am not worthy thou shouldst come under
SERMON XLII.* my roof; I know if thou comest thou bringest life with thes, and salvation with thee to my soul. But ( in how hunble and reverential a posture musi the soul be in this
1 Juhn v. 1. thing! And,
(2.) Joy. He is to be received and resigned unto with Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. highest complacency; with a most complacential reception and resiguaiion. The soul is glad things are brought to And thus, what this faith, concerning Jesus's being the that pass between God and hiin. Oh, blessed be God for Son of God, or the Christ, doth in itself import, hath been this day, that he hath revealed his Christ, and hath re- largely shown. And now, realed him in me; and that I have found him, and in him II. What is said of such as do believe this with this foand according to his own word, “They that find me find faith, we are to open to you, to wit, what this being “born bfe, and shall ob:ain favour of the Lord.” O! what a of God” imports. And concerning it, I shall first note to blessed day is this! How hath God signalized this day you two things in general; and then come to give you a with my soul, in bringing about this union and commerce more distinct and particular account of it afterwards. In balveen this Christ and me!
general, This is believing Jesus to be the Christ. If you believe 1. That this must needs be a very great difference, it to purpose, this is it. And pray think with yourselves; which such a work as this makes between men and men, can it be auy thing less than this? That faith that is short this being "born of God." The difference cannot but to of this is both a nullity and an affront. A nullily, a va- every one's understanding appear very great, between one Diy a3 to you, and an affront as to God and Chrisi. that is born of God, and one that is noi born of God: es
To ron a nullily, a vanity, a nothing: for can that faith, pecially too, when you consider, that every one that is not that belief, signify any thing, that doth not reach its end? born of God, is of the seed and offspring of the worst faI pray what is the end, think you, of this revelation of ther that ever tas. For there are but two great fathers Christ, that there should be such a record extant concern whose posterity divide all mankind; they that have not
* Preached April 22nd, 1694.
God for their Father, as being born of him, our Lord tells | mercy which he had obtained, had made him quite another them, “ You are of your father the devil, and his works man. And this he doth not speak of himself as a single ye will do," John viii. 44. “And by this the children of person separately considered, but he speaks of himself as God are manifest, and the children of the devil," 1 John a pattern to all that should thereafter believe; that he was ni. 10. It hath enough in it to amaze a man's soul, to have taken herein as set for a pattern (as the expression is in this matter represented as a thing doubted of, and to be in the original) what mighty changes the power and spirit of quired about, To which of these fathers do I relate ? If grace could work in the souls of men, so as to make them the one of them be not my father, the other is. This must so much other men from themselves. Is it very true inbe understood (as any ordinary understanding will easily deed, that for those that hitherto continue in their natural apprehend) not concerning a person's naturals but his and unregenerate state, they are not all sinners alike, they morals. When a man is said to be a child of the devil, it are not all sinners in the same kind. Every such sinner is not as if there were any thing of positive natural being is not a persecutor, is not a blasphemer. But every such wrought in him by the devil, but only a moral depravation. sinner is a carnal wretch, a stranger to God, alienated from And when any are the children of God, it is not that him, unacquainted with him: one that hath no lo any new natural faculty is created, but the faculties that no fear of him, no delight in him, no desire to please him. were created at first, and that are depraved, and upon no design to serve him. “No, as to what change is made which the image of the devil is impressed, are sanctified; in me, (saith the apostle,) I am not here to speak of myself defaced, and purged of that impurity, and stamped with as a single person, but I am to speak of myself as a paiiern, an impression from the Spirit of holiness, which is the re- what the Almighty Spirit of divine grace can effect upon generating Spirit.
the soul of a man, to make him quite another sort of thing That is one consideration, and a mighty one it is; and from what he was." There is somewhat common to all very obvious, one would think, to every one's thoughts, un regenerate persons, and to all regenerale persons, wherethat this must make a very vast difference between men to in such a pattern may very well reach and suit every one's be born of God, and not to be born of him, and to be either case. Every one that is unregenerate, is a stranger to God, of his, or of the devil's seed. And,
unacquainted with him ; one that lives as without him in 2. This is to be generally noted too, that this difference the world ; that hath no design to know him, or love him, is universal upon all believers. The greatness of it, and or please him, or serve or glorify him. Every one that is universality of it, are the two things that I would have regenerate, his dispositions are changed in all these repreviously noted. And this latter you have expressly in spects. Now what is common herein, must the apostle be the text, « Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, understood to mean himself to be, a pattern to subsequent is born of God." Every one, without exception. So that believers; those that should come hereafter to believe. there is no room les for such an imagination to any one, | Wherever that believing is, there is this change; there is Is it not possible that some or other may pass for believers, that imitation in the subject, as will speak this person to be without having this work pass upon them, so vastly differ- new born. There is a new production in him, by which he cncing men from one another, as this being born of God is quite another sort of man from what he was. “Every is? A great thing indeed! What ? may none pass for a one that is in Christ (as every one comes to be in him by believer but such as are born of God ? May not in the believing) is a new creature," 2 Cor. v. 17. It is the great census some or other escape without that mark upon them? | design of our Lord Jesus Christ (as he is the restorer and No, saith the apostle, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is repairer of the ruins of a lapsed world, and of a corrupt the Christ, is born of God." Let him call himself whatso- nature in man,) to make all things new, so far as his deever he will, he is real infidel ; let him be never so much sign takes place and succeeds. “Behold I make all things a nominal believer, if he be not born of God, his believing new," Rev. xxi. 5. That is my business upon which I am of this, that Jesus is the Christ, is as nothing; it is no be- intent; so that there is a real new production every where, lieving. As in another case, circumcision goes for no cir- where there is faith in Christ wrought, in every such percumcision, if it be not of the heart and spirit, and not only son, which makes him truly differ (and not in imagination of the letter. As circumcision will go for no circumcision only) from what he was, and from what others are. And (where there is the very thing figured and represented) if again, it be the figure and no more, so doth such a pretended [2.] As this is a real production to be thus born, new faith go for no faith, (let men say never so long we believe born; so it is a spiritual production, in contradistinction to Jesus is the Christ,) if they be not born of God, they will such productions as lie within the sphere of nature. It is nerer pass in the divine estimate for believers.
an extra-natural production. For, as I told you before, And now these two generals being noted, we must come this makes men differ from what they were, not in mere to give you a more distinct and particular account what naturals, but morals; and so it is an extra-natural producthis being" born of God" doth import. And that we shall tion. It doth not lie in the sphere of nature, but lies in do in this two-fold gradation : Ist, Speaking to it as it is a the sphere of grace. You may collect it to be an extrabirth; and 2dly, As it is a being born of God, as it is a natural production by two things: Ist, The principal seat divine birih. As it is a being born ; and as it is a being of it; and 2dly, The great agent that is employed herein. born of God. The latter whereof, as you may easily ap- The prime subject of it is the mind and spirit.' The great prehend, doth greatly sublimate the former, and raise it agent employed herein is our Lord Jesus Christ, as it aphigher, and should raise our thoughts and apprehensions pears to be the immediate result of believing this Jesus io proportionably higher about it.
be the Christ : then he is born of God. “If any man be (1.) As this work done upon the soul is called a birth, in Christ, he is a new creature." let us consider it so. And that is a more general conside- First, Consider the former of these ; it is a work, the ration, and a lower one; and as a fountain and substratum primary subject whereof is the mind. “Be not conformed to what is afterwards to be added under the other more to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of specifying notion. Why, as it is said to be a birth, it sig- your mind.” Here is a transformation to be wroughi, by nifies such things as these,
which men cease to be conformed to the world, to be like (1.) A real new product in the soul, that there is some- the world as they were. But where is the seat of this what really produced anew in it. This must be signified transformation ? " Be ye transformed by the renewing of by being born. Being born is not a fiction, is not a fancy; your mind." Romans xii. 2. and so Ephesians iv. 22, 23. it is not an imaginary thing. Being born signifies a real “We have not so learned Christ: if ye bave heard of him, new production, that there is really somewhat new brought as the truth is in Jesus," that is, “ to put off the old man forth into being, that before was not; and so as to make which is corrupt by deceivable lusts, and to be renewed in The subject so far another thing from what before it was; the spirit of your mind." If you have heard and learned or works such an imitation, as that the person in whom Christ, or the truth as it is in Jesus, this is the effect of it, this work is wrought, is not what before he was. I: brings that you " be renewed in the spirit of your mind." It is The maiter to this, that he may truly say, Ego non sum ego, an expression that haih somewhat more of emphasis in it, I am not the same (1) that I was. As the apostle saith of than that last mentioned expression. Transformed by the himself, I Tim. i. 11. “I was a blasphemer, I was a per- renewing of the mind, doth represent the subject not merely, secutor, I was injurious, but I obtained mercy.” And ilai, not only as a knowing thing, but as an active thing; as the