« הקודםהמשך »
cerianty, (though not lo facisfactory to our importeat souls) as if the things themselves were seer. 2. The wil is determina ed by it in its necesary consent and choice. 3. The affections are moved in the necesary digree. 4. It ruleib in our lives, and bringcoh us through duty, and surfering, for the sake of the happiness which we believe.
3. This Fairbis a grounded wise and jufifiublo ad : an infallible knowledge ; and often called ro in Scrip'ure, Jobu 6 69. 1 Cor. 15.38. Rom. 8. 28,&c. And the conftitutive and ctficient causes will justific the None.
We know and are infallibly sure, of the truth of God, which we believe : As it's faid, John 6.69. [We believe and are sure tbat sbou art ibat Cbrist, ibe Son of the living God.] 2 Cor.5.1. [We krow that if our eartbly bouse of this tabernacle were solved, we have a building of God, an house not made wirb hands, eternal in tbe Heavens.] Rom. 8. 28. We know that all things work togei ber for good to them that love God.] 1 Cor. 15.58. You know tbat your labour is nit in vain in the Lord ] Joh. 9.29. [We know God spake to Mofes, &c.] 31. (We knowo God bear. etb not fireners.] John 3.2. We knowo thou art a Teacher come from God.] so i jobu 3. 5, 15. & 1 Pet. 3.-17, and many other Scriptures tell you, that Believing God, is a certain infal'il le sort of kn Doledge.
I shall in juttification of the work of Faith, acquaint you bricfly wish 1. That in the Nature of it : 2. And that in the caufing of it, which advancech it, to be an infalible knowledge.
1. The Believer knobos (as sure as he knows there is a God) that God is true, and his Word is tru?, it being impoffible for God to lie, H.b. 6. 18. God ibat cannot lie bash promised, Titus 1. 2.
3. He knows that the holy Scripture is the Word of God; by his Image which it beareth, and the many evidences of Divinity which it containcth, and the many Miracles (certainly proved) which Christ, and his Spirit in his servants, wrought to confirm the truth. 3. And therefore he knoweth assuredly the conclusion, that all this Word of God is truc.
And for the fuser cffc&ing of this knowledge, God doch not only set beforc us thic ascertaining Evidence of his own
veracity, and the Scriprures Divinity ; but moreover, 1. He giverle us to believe, Piil. 1. 29. 2 Pcr. 1.3. For it is no: of our silves, but is she gift of God, Ephef. 2.8. Faitb is one of the fruits of ibe Spiris, Gal. 5. 22. By the drawing of the Father, we come to tbe Son. And he that hath knowledge given from Heaven, will certainly know : and he that hath Faith given him from Heaven, will certainly believe. The heavenly Light will dissipate our darkness, and infallibly illuminate. Whilent God lets before us the glass of the Gospel in which the things invisible are revealed, and allo gives us eye fight to behold them, Believers must needs be a heavenly people, as walking in that light which proceedech from, and Icadech to the celestial everlalting Light.
2. And that Faith may be so powerful as to serve instead of fight and presence, Believers bave the Spirit of Chrift wit bin them, to excite and actuare it and help them againft all compracions to unbelief, and to work in them all other graces that concur to promote the works of Faith ; and to mortific those fins that hinder our believing, and are contrary to a heavenly life : So that as the exercise of our light, and talte, and hearing, and feeling, is caused by our natural lifc; so the exercise of Faith and Hope, and Lovs, upon things unseen, is caused by chc holy Spirit, which is the principle of our new life, 1 Cor. 2. 12. W bave received tbe Spirit, ibat we might know the things that are given as of God.] This Spirit of God acquaintcth us with God, with his veracity and his Word, Heb. jc. 30. We knowo bim tbat barb suid, I will never fail ibee, nor for fake iber.] This Spirit of Christ acquaintech us with Christ, and with his grace and will. . 1 Cor. 2. 10, 11, 12. This beavenly Spirit acquijotech us with Heaven, fo that [WV ekrow tbat when Cbrift appearetb, we shall be like him, for we shall see bim as he is, 1 Joh. 3.2. And we know that be was 91 a nifefted to take Away sin, ] 1 Joh. 3. 5. And will perfect his work, and prefent us spotles to his father, Epl. 5.26,27. This heavenly Spirit pof-. kreth the Saines with fuch beavenly dispositions and delires, as. much facilitate the wirk of Faith. I bringech us to a beavenly conversation; and maketa ss live as felow.citizens of the Saints, and insbe boufhold of God, Phil.3.20. Eph.2.19. It is within us a Spirit of fupplication, breathing heaven-ward, with fighs and
gronoms wbich cannot be exprened; and as God knoweb tbe meaning of the Spirit, co the Spirit knows the mind of God, Rom. 8. 37. 1 Cor. 2. 11.
3. And the work of Faith is much promoted by the firi. tual experiences of Believers. When they find a confiderable part of the holy Scriptures verificd on themselves, it much c01firmech their Faith as to the whole. They are really pod red of that heavenly dispofirion, called, Tbe Divine Nature, and have felt the power of the Word upon their hearts, renewing them to the image of God, mortifying their molt dear and ftrong corruptions, Ahewing chem a greater beauty and difsableness in the Objects of Faith, than is to be found in fenfible things : They have found many of the Promisos made good upon themselves, in the answers of prayers, and in great deliverances, which strongly perfwadeth them to believe the reft that are yet to be accomplished. And experience is a very puwerful and satisfying way of convidion. He that feeletb, as it were, the first truits, chc carncit, and the beginnings of Heaven alrcady in his soul, will more easily and affuredly believe that there is a Heaven hereafter. [We know tbat the Son of God i come, and bath given us on understanding, that we may kasno him ibat is true, and we are in bins tbar is true, even in bio Son Jesus Christ: This is the true God and eterual life, ] 1 Joh. 5.20. (He that believeth on tbe Son batb tbe witness in bimfakt, Vers, 10.] There is fo great a likenes of the holy and beavenly neture in the Saints, to the beavenly life that God hath promi. fed, that makes it che more calily b:lieved.
4. And it exceedingly helpech our Belics of the life that's yet unseen, to find chai Nature affordeth us undeniable Argumenis to prove a future Happiness and Mifery, Reward and Punishment, in the general; yca and in special, that the Love and Fruition of God is this Reward, and that the effc&ts of his displeasure are this Punishment : Nothing more clear and certain than that tbere is a God, (He must be a fool indecd that dare deny ir, Pfal. 14. 1.) as also that this God is the Creatour of the rational nature and hath the absolute right of Soveraigo Government: and therefore that the rational Crcature oweth him the moft full and absolute obcdience, and deferveth punilhacne is he disobey. And it's moft clear that infinite good
ness should be loved above all finire imperfect crcated good : And it's clear that the rational nature is To formed, that wichout the bopes and fears of another life, the world neither is, not ever was, nor (by ordinary visible means) can b: well governed ; (fuppoting God to work on man according to his nature. And it is most certain that it confifteth nor with infinite wisdom, power and goodness, to be put to rule the world in all ages, by fraud and fallhood. And it is certain that Heathens do for the most part through the world, by che light of nature, acknowledge a life of joy, or misery to come: And the moft hardened Atheifts, or lafidels must confess, that [forought they know there may be such a life: ] it being impossible they should know or prove the contrary. And it is most certain that the meer probability or poffibility of a Heaven and Hell, (being matters of such unspeakable concernment) should in reason command our utmott diligence to the hazard or loss of the transitory vanities below: and consequently that a holy diligent preparation for another life, is naturwlly the duty of the realoxalle creature. And it's as sure that God hath not made our nature in vain ; por sct us on a life of vain imploymonts, nor made it our bufinels in the world to seek after that which can never be attained.
These things, and much more, do shew that nature affyrdcth us so full a testimony of the life to come that's yet invisible, that it exceedingly helpech us in believing the supernatural revelation of it, which is more full.
5. And though we have not seen the objects of our faith, yet those that have given us their infallible icftimony by infallible means, have seen what they tehified. Though [no man bath feen God at any time, yet the only begotten Son which is in the bofom of the Fatber, batb declared bim, Joh 1.18. [Verily, verily, (faith our Lord) we speak that we know, and testifie that we have seen] Joh. 3. 11. Verl. 31,32. [He that comeib from Heaten is above all, and webat be barb feen and beard Ibar be teftificib.] Chrift that hath told us faw the things that we have not seen: and you will believe ho seft men that speakro you of what they were cye-witnesses of. And the Disciples savo the person, the transfiguration, and the miracles of Chrift. Insomuch that Jobs thus beginncth his Epiflc, 1 Cor. 1.1,2,3.
(That sebicb w.ss from the beginning wbicb we have beard, wbich we bave seen with our eyes, which we have looked upin, Andour bands have bandled of the Word of life, (for I be life was manifefted, and we bave seen it, and bear witxes, and hem it to you, ibat eternal life wbicb was with the Farber, and was ma. nifested unto us :) Ibat wbicb w: bave seen and beard declare we unto you.] Su Paul, 1 Cor.9. 1. Am I not an Apotle? bave bave I not seen Jesus Cbrift our Lord, 1 Cor. 15 5 6,7. (He was feen of Cephas, tben of tbe twelve : after that be to us seen of above five bundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this prefeni] Heb. 2. 3. 4. Ibis [great salvation at firft began to be spoken by tbe Lord, and was confirmed to me by shem that beard bine; God also bearing them witness, burb with l'igns and wonders, and witb divers miracles and
gifts of the boly Gloft, according to bio opon will.]2 Pet. 1.16,17.(For we bave not followed cunningly devisedfables, when we made known unto you tbe power and coming of our Lord Jesus Cbrift, but were eyewilnefes of his Majesty: For be received from Godtbe Fatber bonour and glory, wben tbere came fucb a voice to him, from eberxcellent glory : This is rasy beloved Son in sobom I am well pleased : And tbis voice which came from Heaven, wo beard when we were witb bim in the baly Mount.] And therefore when the Apofiles were commanded by their persecutors, not to speak at ad, or seach in the name of Jesus, they answered, [We cannot but speak the ibings sobicb we have seen and beard.] Aas 4. 18, 20. So that much of the obj:As of our faith to us invi. fitle, have yce been seen by ebose char have inftrum:ntally revealed them; and the glory of Haven je fulf is seen by many millions of souls, that are now possessing ir. And the tradition of the Testimony of the Apostles unto us, is more full and Carisfactory, ihan the tradition of any Laws of the Land, or History of the most unqueftionable affairs that have bien done among the people of the carih : (as I have manifested elsewhere.) So that faich hath the infallible Testimony of God, and of them that have feon, and therefore is ro us instead of figle.
6. Lastly, Even the enemy of faith himself doch agring his will confirm our faith by the violence and rage os malice, that ke Birreth up in the ungodly against the life of faith and holi